Can you make someone care by punishing or rewarding?

To be caring is one of the most important skills one can have. It isn’t taught at school though. How do we learn it?

I used to think if I care for/about others, my children will too…

Lead by example they say…

Well, too many times I have seen children (mine included) act in a way that shocked me, because I know that it didn’t come from me, my husband, our environment or the respective parents of these children.

What we hear isn’t necessarily coming from the parents. Is the environment directly responsible or is there a part of inborn character in the attitudes our children occasionally show?

How do you make someone care then?

In older days they used punishment, threat and fear to pressure children into acting as expected in the adult world…

In our modern world we tend to base our education more on rewards, encouragements and positive feedback in general…

Some how, it seems wrong to me to punish or reward. If we are teach real values to children, we should teach them to feel what is right and what is wrong and go by that rule. We all learned to speak, we weren’t punished nor rewarded when we started, but we all speak beautifully our mother tong.

Why should we learn to be kind? to get a reward? Is it why we are kind to others? Or is it coming from a very selfish warm and sweet feeling we get deep down our heart only created when we care for/about someone or something? I believe that is our reward, that amazing feeling, knowing you’ve done the right thing. What the positive impact of your actions or words is so satisfying. No material reward or sentimental blackmail can compete with this feeling of happiness and pride for having done something good. That is the reward I want my children to feel. It is so addictive too!! lol

Children know when they’ve done something wrong, but they don’t know why they did it. That is when we can help them understand themselves better. I believe in love when it comes to educating our children. When I say love I mean, give them attention, active attention, observe them, listen carefully to them, pay attention, show them you care. When they are little and you go in a busy place, meeting with friends for example, always make sure you keep eye contact with your toddler. They’ll know you’re here for them. You need to show them that you care,  they need to be demonstrated that you care for them and love them.

Saying it without the action results in lack of trust and misleading in the meaning of the words themselves. If you say you care for them but tend to not give them the time to explain their actions (because life is too busy and goes so fast you hardly have time for anything these days), you are sending confusing messages to the child. Take the time, it will pay off a million times over. If you say you love them and then punish them by hitting them , you teach them that violence is an act of love… Once again, this is confusing the child even more.

I still believe today the best way to teach them care is to care. Lead by example does work, it always pays of.  Some children learn faster than others and that is where we need to keep believing we are doing the right thing. be patient, give them the time, trust them.

It can take years before you see the results of a good education. Care can take years to develop in a child. But when needed, you can be sure your well cared for child will care in return in the most astonishing ways. Always.


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