How to Create Compassionate Kids and Families

Compassionate KidsIf you had to choose one word to describe the community that you want to live in and your children to grow up in, what would it be?

Guest expert, Dr. Shauna Tominey, poses this question early on in this interview. It’s a question she’s asked countless individuals over a series of years, and she explains that almost everyone’s answer tends to point back to social and emotional skills. Words like “safe,” “happy,” “compassionate,” and “accepting” come up frequently.

So how do you create compassionate kids and families?

According to Dr. Tominey, social and emotional development is its own kind of intelligence. A baby can’t really communicate other than to cry or coo, she explains, which demonstrates that these are skills that can be taught, learned and developed.

“We want children who are strong readers, who are good at math and science. But we also want them to do well in a classroom, to read others’ emotions and express their own, and to be able to build friendships,” Shauna continues. But some children (and adults) with ADHD or other learning disabilities need more support to develop these skills.

In this podcast conversation, Elaine and Shauna discuss shifting patterns of behavior to build a stronger foundation within the family -- and ways that you can help your child learn these skills.

So where does compassion come in? Shauna uses an analogy involving teaching your child to cut with scissors. You teach them one day, going hand-over-hand, but then they completely forget the next day -- so you show them again until they get it. “Why is it so hard to treat social and emotional skills with that same compassion?” she asks.

When your child is having trouble with emotional regulation, it looks like a meltdown, which in turn tend to trigger your own emotional responses. Shauna stresses the importance of recognizing that emotional regulation is a skill -- something that children face and need support to learn and practice.

Listen to this podcast to learn an approach for creating compassionate kids that will bring you peace and joy, and help you nurture your own compassion, too. Gain some insights into how responding rather than reacting can go a long way with your family.

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