7 Things About Kindness Teens Need to Know
(Inside: Growing kindness in teens is important. We know in the long run it’ll make them happier humans. We need to teach our teens these 7 things about kindness. Read on…)
As a family, I don’t think we mean not to be kind.
Life just happens.
Parents and kids can take each other “as their safe place” for granted. We’ve kept our emotions simmering under the surface all day, and when we walk through the door, things start bubbling over.
Or the hurried bowl of cereal with small hoops of Cheerios littering the counter is left not because our teens are trying to be disrespectful, they’re just trying to make the bus.
Or words exhale irritation because our kids’ grade book clearly says the due date of the paper, and they needed to have it done – not be in their rooms laughing at YouTube shorts, which we’ve told them, a million times and then some more.
Or interactions are edgy because between work and dinner and school and activities, we’re just hoping to get to the correct soccer field with the right jersey somewhat on time and…for.the.love.just.grab.your.cleats.and.let’s.go.
Or naturally-born-with grumpy dispositions consistently ping-pong around the house. It’s not that our loved ones are trying to be short-tempered, they just don’t fully see how they come across.
But we strive…
We continually come back together…
To pay attention to this.
If kindness is important to our family, it doesn’t just happen. We have to work at it as a team to weave these seven principles into our understanding of what kindness is and how we can create a home that nourishes each other through it.
We need to know that…
1. Self-kindness is important.
The God who spoke the universe into existence and says things such as he formed you purposefully in the womb (Psalm 139:13), knows every hair on your head (Luke 12:7), loves you more than you can fathom (Ephesian 3:18), and walks with you every day (Hebrews 13:5) did not create you to talk unkindly to yourself.
We are His creation. His work of art. His masterpiece.
Believe that. With hearts-open-wide acceptance.
Then treat one of God’s most cherished creations (yourself) with the kind of care and love He’d want you to. And when you’re kind to yourself, it’s often easier to let that overflow as kindness to others.
2. Sometimes you just have to fake it to you make it.
You don’t have to feel like being kind to actually be kind. Sometimes (lots of times), you just have to predetermine you will choose kindness, even when it’s tough.
In hard situations, start small. Say one kind word. Then another. Do a thoughtful action. Then repeat. It builds.
Then, ironically, kindness to others often soothes your own heart. One little step at a time, you just might notice your mood lifts. Life is weird like that.
3. Picking up and contributing around the house is one of the kindest things you can do for each other.
Life is busy and tripping over other people’s shoes sometimes feels like people not respecting that you are walking through that hallway too. Pick up and take care of your own stuff at home and see how that changes the dynamic of the home for the better.
4. Words of affirmation are important.
Everyone needs words of affirmation. Everyone. We need to be noticed for how we try and who we are. Notice. Say kind words. Text nice things. Your words hold power.
5. Know that kindness looks different to everyone.
To a teacher, kindness looks like keeping your phones away and engaging in the lesson. To a parent, it might look like a long hug and thank you. To a sister, kindness looks like listening to her day. To a brother, he might crave someone listening to him play his guitar or walking the dog with him. To a friend, it could be a funny meme. Kindness is noticing others and reaching out with care.
6. You help create the kind of environment that you want to live in.
Everyone in the family matters. If we want to come home to a kind place, we each need to be kind. Everyone matters. Everyone contributes. Everyone helps create the kind of nourishing home each family member wants to come home to.
7. You don’t regret being kind.
It makes life so much harder for ourselves (and our loved ones) to use harsh words, then have to eat some serious humble pie and apologize later. That we regret. However, choosing not to knee-jerk react. Instead, to take a breath, take a moment to calm down and think, and respond with wisdom, that’s the type of people we want to be. Kindness upfront is something we just won’t regret.
Life is busy.
With constant moving variables.
And in the hustle, we don’t mean to be unkind.
But we sometimes are.
So we pause.
We remind ourselves what kindness looks like.
Make intentional choices.
And move forward knowing that we’ll never be a family that’s flawless. The pursuit of perfection is impossible. But we can work together to be kind. So we’ll do that. We’ll be a family that’s kind to each other.
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Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.
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