Parents are important role models of kindness for kids

A posed photo of a father and his child.
A posed photo of a father and his child.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

The results of the poll conducted by the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) are not at all surprising (Youth too embarrassed to show kindness in public: Poll, June 25).

The fear of ridicule and mockery, especially among youth who like to use social media to maintain a public persona, drives their behaviour offline too.

This feeling can be countered by developing content which appreciates kindness and graciousness, sharing more such stories on social media and using positive comments to reinforce the behaviour.

SKM's contribution towards encouraging kindness as a movement, as well as motivating parents to have the right discourse with their children, is commendable. It is imperative that parents set the right example. Actions speak louder than words and children will learn from their parents' example.

I had an interesting discussion with my child on this issue. I figured that peer pressure might play an important role in the formation of my 12-year-old's views. She shared similar stories of her experience when she tried to be graceful at school and hold doors open for her classmates.

Her classmates, apparently, did not find such an act of consideration necessary. However, she has been taught this at home and finds it unnecessary to change her habits, her friends' opinions notwithstanding.

She does it at supermarkets, malls, whenever she encounters people with babies or the elderly who need assistance, and often does me proud.

A few people do respond with a warm smile, though some may not notice the act.

Children cannot be entirely blamed for leaving behind kindness and graciousness. Parents and caregivers can step up and become their role models.

Sudeepa Nair

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2019, with the headline 'Parents are important role models of kindness for kids'. Print Edition | Subscribe