Creative Child

8 Ways to Raise a Socially Conscious Child

by Deborah Song

Helping children become empathetic and aware of social issues is not about raising the next generation of activists, though some may grow up to dedicate their lives fighting unjust causes. It’s about raising kids to become compassionate leaders at work, involved members of their community, dependable friends at school, and caring brothers and sisters at home.

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Social consciousness doesn’t just happen, though. It requires the conscious efforts of parents, friends and others in their communities to foster an environment of love, gratitude, empathy and empowerment. Here are 8 tips on how to raise socially conscious children. It really does take a village.

1. Forge strong relationships with adults.

If our youth culture seems to be increasingly self-centered and disconnected, it may be because they are disconnected first and self-centered second, says Michael Ungar, PhD in his book, “The We Generation.” Kids these days don’t have the sort of connection they need from adults around them, despite the proliferation of technology. They need encouragement and compassion, and strong connections with their parents.

Ungar has found throughout his years counseling families that having an additional strong connection with at least one caring adult role model, other than a parent, has helped children become resilient and better equipped to see beyond themselves. In short, more meaningful human connections equal more strength to act on empathy.

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2. Help your child find her identity.

Identity is that thing, that unique quality that makes your child distinctly her and from where her passions flow. It’s the fingerprint of your child’s soul, that part of her that is unchanging, that drives her to discover what and how she was meant to contribute to the world. It’s important to find opportunities for your child to express this uniqueness. Discovering one’s identity, though requiring some reflection and thought, can happen even before a child can eloquently explain what her identity is. Pay attention to the things that spark her interest and those qualities that make her distinctly and uniquely her.

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