Teaching kids to see the good in someone they don’t like? A Nature v’s Nurture debate?


I saw this title in a tweet from stress free kids. It made me think about my children, mainly my eldest.

Big Princess has always had a wonderful attitude towards other people.

From the moment she was born I recognised how empathetic she is. If I was stressed out/upset it always had a negative impact on her, as I’m sure it does on most young children, but often she would pick up on it before I had said or done anything! If she was upset I could ALWAYS calm her by slowing my breathing and entering a very calm and relaxed state. I mainly focused and was mindful of her hearing my heart rate and me slowing that to a gentle soothing rhythm.

As a toddler she would gravitate towards people who were calm and less (but not avoid) from those who I would describe as highly strung.
At this time The Hoarders dad was gravely ill with cancer & Big Princess could usually be found curled up with him asleep or watching tv, she would always be gentle & quiet with him as though she knew exactly what he needed.

At nursery this had not changed. She can be boisterous & lively as any child, she is creative and according to her reports is often found making up games for everyone to play…everyone.

This included a little boy who often had problems with the other kids, Including Big Princess. In first year of nursery he had a fascination with her hair…he kept pulling it regularly. They had to be separated & I even stopped putting colourful hair bobbles and pigtails in her hair until it stopped.

Despite this Big Princess would invite him to play her games & include him in the group she played with on the condition he would be a good boy. When he was naughty, like the time he pushed her down a hill, she would talk to him & ask him why? Could he try to be nice so they could all play together?

Now they are at primary school. Some of the other parents had told me he would not be in the same school & how relieved they were at this…The little boy is in the same school & in the same class (there are 3 reception classes) He always shouts for my Big Princess on a morning and she always goes over to see him.
Apparently he plays nicely at school now, she even told me that when she was upset he ran over to her hugged her & gave her a really smoochie kiss!

We never taught Big Princess to be like this with people, we have not consciously taught her empathy, although granted she could have picked this up from the way we treat and talk to her… Rather I think it’s who she is and we encourage her to be who she is. This is nature rather than nurture. Especially since Smaller Beautiful is totally different. She has a wonderful firey temper and is hard to calm, whilst still being a very loving child…it is under her terms!

Big Beautiful, naturally, see’s the good in people, even those who may not be good to her. I hope that this stays with her and that no one hurts her so much that she turns her back on the goodness that can be found in human nature, especially as some days it’s hard to believe that there is any at all

Sometimes I wish I could be more like her.

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