ARE CHILDREN NATURALLY CARING?
According to studies conducted by Felix Warneken, a graduate student studying altruism and patience in children says yes some are. If children aren’t naturally caring what can parents do to foster and/or promote altruism in their children? Also, is it possible that a child can become too sensitive?
In the past, the questions about whether humans were innately wired to be altruistic usually ended up with the answer that we weren’t; that we were purely selfish creatures. It said that we learn to be helpful only through moral education and through socialization processes. Recent studies by Felix Warneken, however, have found that both selfish and altruistic motives exist simultaneously from the beginning and both motives are in competition with each other. What Warneken did was conduct various studies with children to see if they would respond to his need for assistance. Through these studies he found that many children helped spontaneously (without him asking outright for help). He also set up scenarios where he would intentionally throw things on the floor and was able to learn that children did have an ability to discern for themselves appropriate times to help.
CAN PARENTS PROMOTE CARING CHILDREN?
The answers is yes we can. Children tend to do things that their parents do rather than what their parents say, explains E. Gil Glary a psychology professor at the college of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn. Moreover, Glary further explains that “kids are more likely to pay attention to a model if they have a good relationship with their parents.”
WHAT ABOUT SENSTIVE CHILDREN & CAN CHILDREN BE TOO SENSITIVE?
In short, yes there are cases of overly sensitive children and it seems parenting in these cases may require a little more work than usual because these children tend to experience a little more in terms of sensations and emotions. In short, sensitive children need sensitive parenting skills if they are to grow up happy, healthy, and well-adjusted (Healy Maureen , 2011).
So the old ideas that humans are innately selfish, self-serving creatures are only a part of the truth. It seems there’s a bit of both in all of us where one can be nurtured over the other. There are always new concepts being employed in schools that parents should keep a watch for if they want to nurture positive qualities in their children. As Abigail Van Buren used to say, “If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money.”
While writing this article the ideas of Buddhism and Christianity came to mind. One is founded on the idea that humans are naturally good, and the other is that we’re all born sinners. It seems both views are valid in their own right, tackling the challenges of mankind from opposite sides of the spectrum.
Clay, R. A. (2006, December). American psychological association. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/dec06/kids.aspx
Healy Maureen (2011, June 1). Psychology today. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/creative-development/201106/the-highly-sensitive-child