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How can I teach compassion to my child?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
When you have a baby, there's no questIon - She's the most important thing in the world to you. And you send her that message every day with your love, with your attentiveness to her needs, with your warm snuggles and hug-me eyes. Absolutely, no question, you should do that as a parent. But at some point, you need to make sure that your child receives quite a different message: that she's not the only person in this world; that there are others who should be treated the same way, and that, really, her needs and wants are no more important than Sally's from down the street. Sounds a little harsh, we know, but this is another place where sensible authority comes in. You can love, care for, and protect your child all you want, but you also have to draw the line: to teach your child that it's not appropriate to hit other kids, to tease defenseless dogs, or to pull flowers off the neighbor's rosebush. The key to instilling compassion, of course, is communication. Soon enough, your child will pepper you with more questions than a public defender: Why? Why? Why? Why? The more "why" questions you answer -- specifically about why other people matter -- the better. The earlier you teach your child to consider other people's feelings ("How would you feel if Izzy grabbed your tail or your doll?"), the better her chances of assimilating into a world that's a heck of a lot more diverse and unpredictable than your home environment.
YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

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YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

There’s little doubt that parenting can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences you’ll ever have. But it can be plenty tough, too: Around the clock, you’re working to keep your...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.