Kindness is treating others with respect, compassion, and care. It’s the golden rule: treat others how you want to be treated.
Research shows that kindness is linked to increased peer acceptance, improved academic performance, and positive mental health. It is essential in maintaining and making new relationships. When people are kind, they are more accepting of others and their differences, and they are better-able to form meaningful and strong social connections. The ability to be kind is an essential trait that can help contribute to a person’s personal and professional success.
As many changes are happening in your young adult’s life and questions of identity and purpose arise, it is a crucial time to talk about the value of being kind and welcoming to others. Young adults can practice kindness in all of their interactions. Simply having conversations with people they may not typically talk to or agree with is a good way to start. Halloran says it’s easy to be kind to those who agree with you, it’s much harder to show respect and kindness to those who you really disagree with. “Your goal is not to agree with someone,” Borba says. “The goal is to understand where the person is coming from and show kindness to them anyway.” And it’s okay to acknowledge that it’s not always easy. Working and interacting on a daily basis with those who have very different beliefs can be challenging at times, especially when it causes tension. “Validate that your kid may be in a tough position, but encourage them nonetheless,” education consultant Ana Hoyamoun says. When your kid is pushed out of their comfort zone, it’s going to be challenging. But challenging times are often the best time to learn and grow.
Respecting differences is something your child will have to learn to do their entire life. This may seem obvious, but be sure your kid feels unconditionally loved. At a time with many changes, your young adult may feel particularly vulnerable. Even more of a reason for you to support them! This shows them that respecting and loving others for their differences and in spite of them is what is most important.