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Have you ever encouraged this behavior in your child? If so, how? And if you do, does it really make them more popular?

Posted by on Dec. 27, 2012 at 10:24 PM
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1 mom liked this

Random Acts Of Kindness Can Make Kids More Popular

A hug is good for Mom, and good for her daughter.

iStockphoto.com

In the aftermath of Christmas, a parent could be forgiven for thinking that materialism has trumped human kindness.

Take heart. Children can easily become kinder and more helpful. And that behavior makes them more positive, more accepting and more popular.

At least that's how it worked for fourth- and fifth-graders in Vancouver, Canada. Researchers there have been studying empathy and altruism in schoolchildren for decades.

"How do we decrease bullying, increase empathy and caring for others?" says Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, an applied developmental psychologist at the University of British Columbia who helped lead the experiment.

They wanted to see how performing random acts of kindness would influence that. But one measurement thrown into the mix almost as an afterthought — being liked by peers — was the quality most improved by helpful acts.

The researchers asked 9- to 11-year-olds in 19 classrooms to either perform three acts of kindness or visit three places each week (the tourists were the control group).

The acts of kindness were simple. The children gave mom a hug when she was stressed out, shared their lunches, or vacuumed the floor.

After four weeks, the researchers tested the kids and compared the results with tests they'd taken before. All the children had more positive emotions, and were slightly happier.

But the children who performed acts of kindness were much more likely to be accepting of their peers, naming more classmates as children they'd like to spend time with.

"I do think we're on to something," Schonert-Reichl tells Shots. The children were at an age when bullying can be more extreme, she says, and children become more self-conscious. So an increase in peer acceptance could benefit in the classroom and in social life. The study was published online in the journal PLOS One.

Being part of the experiment made kindness intentional. The children had to plan their acts of kindness, and remember to do them. Similar experiments in adults have shown that being actively kind increases happiness, and happier people then become more likely to help others.

Parents don't have to have a Ph.D. to encourage these sorts of simple acts of kindness in children – or in themselves.

"I think of ways to start the New Year, and people making resolutions," says Schonert-Reichl, a former middle school teacher and mother of two boys." Can I do an act of kindness for someone every day?"

Harried parents would feel better, she says, and their children would, too. "They start helping, and they start feeling this is nice." Seeing themselves as the kind of person who helps others could be an identity that then stays with them for the rest of their lives.

Naughty Wittle Puppy

by on Dec. 27, 2012 at 10:24 PM
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Replies (1-10):
NWP
by guerrilla girl on Dec. 27, 2012 at 10:26 PM
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I have encouraged my daughter to do this since she was little (lol, she's only 8 now) and it does seem to help her socially.

One example: Notes in her lunchbox suggesting she say hello to someone new and ask them to play with her at recess.


Naughty Wittle Puppy

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Dec. 27, 2012 at 10:52 PM

 I taught my kids to always think of an alternative reason as to why those who are being mean to them, are being mean and act accordingly...to help those who are different.  When a child is being difficult to help them instead of retaliating.. because they dont think like you.  This has made them friends with a lot of kids.

lga1965
by on Dec. 27, 2012 at 10:59 PM

 My kids went to school such a long time ago that I am not sure that they ever saw any bullying. But I am sure they would try to help a kid who was being bullied. But, does that really make a kid more popular? I'm not sure.

I do recall that when my son was in 6th grade that a friend of his got in trouble for something that someone else did and when my son  spoke up in his defense, his teacher called him a liar. Nice, huh? Good deeds don't go unpunished, as they say. I was so sorry. I told him I was proud of him for trying to help and that he shouldn't give up trying to help others. His teacher was a *itch. :-)

NWP
by guerrilla girl on Dec. 27, 2012 at 11:00 PM
1 mom liked this

I agree. I have found that this also works for adults in the work place too. (and even sometimes on CM, LOL)

Quoting turtle68:

 I taught my kids to always think of an alternative reason as to why those who are being mean to them, are being mean and act accordingly...to help those who are different.  When a child is being difficult to help them instead of retaliating.. because they dont think like you.  This has made them friends with a lot of kids.


Naughty Wittle Puppy

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Dec. 27, 2012 at 11:36 PM

 

Quoting lga1965:

 My kids went to school such a long time ago that I am not sure that they ever saw any bullying. But I am sure they would try to help a kid who was being bullied. But, does that really make a kid more popular? I'm not sure.

I do recall that when my son was in 6th grade that a friend of his got in trouble for something that someone else did and when my son  spoke up in his defense, his teacher called him a liar. Nice, huh? Good deeds don't go unpunished, as they say. I was so sorry. I told him I was proud of him for trying to help and that he shouldn't give up trying to help others. His teacher was a *itch. :-)

 I remember that bully video where the big kid dumped the bully after being constantly picked on by him and the girl that tried to help became very popular (albeit via the media) and the kid that was encouraging the bully became a pariah.

lga1965
by on Dec. 27, 2012 at 11:41 PM
1 mom liked this

 

Quoting turtle68:

 

Quoting lga1965:

 My kids went to school such a long time ago that I am not sure that they ever saw any bullying. But I am sure they would try to help a kid who was being bullied. But, does that really make a kid more popular? I'm not sure.

I do recall that when my son was in 6th grade that a friend of his got in trouble for something that someone else did and when my son  spoke up in his defense, his teacher called him a liar. Nice, huh? Good deeds don't go unpunished, as they say. I was so sorry. I told him I was proud of him for trying to help and that he shouldn't give up trying to help others. His teacher was a *itch. :-)

 I remember that bully video where the big kid dumped the bully after being constantly picked on by him and the girl that tried to help became very popular (albeit via the media) and the kid that was encouraging the bully became a pariah.

 That is encouraging !  :-)

meriana
by Platinum Member on Dec. 27, 2012 at 11:49 PM

We do teach our kids to be kind to others but I don't think that has made them popular in any way. In the middle school my dd attends, the popular kids are also the ones that are downright mean to those not in their social circle.

NWP
by guerrilla girl on Dec. 27, 2012 at 11:55 PM
1 mom liked this

Maybe popular is the wrong word because there is always that "mean girl" crowd. I think "well liked" or "respected" is a better way to say it

Quoting meriana:

We do teach our kids to be kind to others but I don't think that has made them popular in any way. In the middle school my dd attends, the popular kids are also the ones that are downright mean to those not in their social circle.

Naughty Wittle Puppy

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Dec. 27, 2012 at 11:56 PM

 

Quoting meriana:

We do teach our kids to be kind to others but I don't think that has made them popular in any way. In the middle school my dd attends, the popular kids are also the ones that are downright mean to those not in their social circle.

 are they popular though...or are they just the pretty ones?  I remember the pretty group of girls, they werent particularly mean but they didnt like newbies in their group without a fair amount of vetting.  They always had a token ugly in the group...I suppose even the pretty need to feel prettier?

Anyhoo...they werent that more popular than say the geek group...they were just more noticeable.

meriana
by Platinum Member on Dec. 28, 2012 at 8:33 AM

I think you're right. "Well liked" or respected is a better way to put it.

Quoting NWP:

Maybe popular is the wrong word because there is always that "mean hi" crowd. I think "well liked" or respected is a better way to say it

Quoting meriana:

We do teach our kids to be kind to others but I don't think that has made them popular in any way. In the middle school my dd attends, the popular kids are also the ones that are downright mean to those not in their social circle.


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