Hudson Valley Parent

HVP January 2020

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Page 14 of 35 n Hudson Valley Parent 15 A series answering parents' toughest questions when raising a teen Keep the conversation going. See the complete article and get tips for on raising teens at Dr. Paul Schwartz Professor of psychology and education Patrice Athanasidy, Mother of three from Westchester As parents, we make sure our chil- dren learn how to read and write, and yet, we often assume children will nat- urally develop skills like kindness and empathy. At their essence, kindness and empathy mean having concern for others and being able to show that concern through our actions. Just like for adults, kindness is important for kids' social connections and well-being. Children learn empathy from watching us and experiencing our em- pathy for them. When we empathize with our children, they develop trust- ing, secure attachments with us. Those attachments are key to their wanting to adopt our values and to model our behavior, and therefore to building their empathy for others. Even the smallest gesture of kind- ness communicates respect and value. Our children watch us all the time. They see whether we smile at others and try to give people the benefit of the doubt on a tough day. They see us buy a gift for Toys for Tots or food for the food pantry. If we handle the majority of situations in our lives with kindness, our kids learn how to do that, too. My son has autism. When he was younger, people were not always kind to him. His sisters became his champions. They also became champions of others when they saw that someone was not being treated right. Each time I observed one of these acts of kindness, I talked about how kindness can ripple and make other people pause and be kind in the future. The kindness comes full circle. What's the best way to foster kindness in teens? SAVE YOUR WEEKEND! Supermom always knows when the best events are. Supermom always knows where to fi nd the most exciting adventures. Supermom is always ready for fun! Be the supermom in your family.

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