Many in the older generation accuse children nowadays of not caring about anything other than their iPhone or tab. Some young adults face this accusation too, mainly because these younger generations do not value the same things that the older generation did. Most young people prefer to make memories over money, while for our parents and grandparents, it was all about getting a pension.
However, there is some truth to their claims; children who spend their lifetime staring at an electronic screen is shut down to the world around them, especially because they can customize the world they see on their little screens. In a world of tabs, laptops, gaming consoles and phones, how do you bring up children who can access their emotional intelligence?
Be a Model
For the first 10-12 years of their life, parents are their children’s heroes. They will model your behaviour consciously or unconsciously. So if you want children to be caring, giving, and compassionate, you need to model that behaviour and be genuine about it – children can spot fakes a mile away. If you make a charity donation, then tell your children or show your children how and why you did it. You may not want the spotlight on you but it is important to acknowledge what you have accomplished and explain to your children what it took to get to a place where you can afford to make a contribution to society. Don’t lecture them; have a discussion while doing something else.
Some parents take things too far and involve children in every discussion they have. Not necessary. However, if you feel they can benefit from the matters you want to discuss with your partner or you simply want your children to feel heard, then talk to them about the kind of charitable acts you want to do. For instance, if you want to set up a NGO donation for a deserving student, then take your child to the bank and let them see how serious an affair it is (also maybe take a colouring book to keep them entertained). Meet the student in question and let your child ask them questions no matter how inane they are. Involving them gives them a sense of pride and helps them connect the act and the emotion together.
Let Them Choose
At the end of the day, children need to find their own way. Maybe your contribution was a cheque; they might go to another country to build houses. Or they might not ‘give’ at all. They might even give up caring about the world around them for a while to be ‘cool’ but children with a strong background of social responsibility and caring about others will always find their way back to it, even if it’s just to raise more children like them.