No matter how progressive society becomes, there is always some element of bullying and prejudice that brings us right back to an unwavering constant of love and hatred. Displaying and teaching a child about the various acts of compassion, is a powerful life lesson that will stay with them throughout their life. Fostering compassion in young people is preventative of any physical, emotional or verbal aggression from taking hold of them. Developing character stems from the life lessons your parents and guardians teach you, and the situations that the world presents you with, give opportunity to test and display your character.

Walk the talk

Children learn through imitation, they will observe and copy your actions. It’s these initial impressions that will remain in their muscle memory, so it’s important to be able to set a good example. This means treating everybody you encounter with kindness and understanding. If you are presented with an opportunity to show compassion, then take it! Be sure to take every opportunity to speak to people with dignity, even when you are extremely irritated or annoyed.

A great example of this is to think about when you are driving a car with a child in the back, a driver cuts you off whilst you are driving, you are presented with two options: A - you can have lean out of the window and shout obscenities at the driver, or B - you can remain calm, and explain what is going on to the child, speaking with dignity about the other driver. Trying to teach your child about compassion means swallowing any prejudice or anger, or their understanding will become clouded and confused. Be the person you want your child to be.

Talk the talk

As well as displaying acts of compassion, it’s also important to tell stories of compassion, which will help you to define what it actually is. This act could be as simple as pointing out when somebody acts in a compassionate way when you are watching a movie or watching the television. Again, children learn through imitation, so this will be a great resource for them to refer back to. If you have the capacity at home, you could become a foster carer, as this is one of the most compassionate acts a parent can do. The whole family will need to be involved, so this will be a valuable lesson in compassion for the both of you.

Lead by example

As well as displaying compassion to others, you also have to bring it home to your child. When they are hurt or upset, it’s important to treat them with compassion. This may seem like the most obvious thing to do, but this is the most effective way for your child to know how to treat others.

Author's Bio: 

Rebecca Harper is a freelance writer and mental health campaigner based in Manchester.