When raising children, it can be overwhelming to cover all of the values you hope they carry into their adult lives. Perhaps one of the greatest qualities you can instill in your child is the strength to stand up for others. But thinking about how to instill this in a child can be overwhelming, and looking for the clues that you're raising a kid who will stand up for others can be even trickier. But according to counselor Elisabeth Graham, there are plenty of ways to tell whether or not your hard work is really rubbing off on your kids.
"Everyone hopes to raise a child who's loving, kind, inclusive, and will stand up not only for what they believe in, but for others as well," Graham says. She goes on to say that there are definite signs that you're raising a kid who will stand up for others in situations where things may not be going so fairly. "Creating an open dialogue with your children about bullying, negativity, and how to combat those types of attitudes in a healthy manner is important," says Graham. "The reaction they have in these situations is often mirrored from what they see at home." Read on for the signs you're raising a kid who will stand up for others, and keep in mind that the best lessons start at home.
1. They're Independent
"In independent children, you see a certain amount of courage and bravery, which are two traits that children who take a stand are flush with," Graham says. Independence, be it in family life, creativity, play time, and more, is an instrumental part of raising your children, according to Graham.
2. They're Inclusive
Inclusive kids are kids who are prone to standing up for others. "If your child is the type to include everyone, regardless of their race, size, gender, and more, they'll be more apt to stick up for those in need," Graham says. So the next time your kid wants to invite everyone to their birthday party, rethink your strategy — it might be a great sign.
3. They Have A Strong Moral Compass
"Children who can easily distinguish between right and wrong are children who will recognize when someone is being treated unfairly, and say something about it," Graham says. Though not everything is black and white, it is important to create an environment where your children are taught often about the right and wrong way to treat people, to respond to people, and to view people.
4. They Praise Others
A generous child is a child who'll be willing to risk their own hide for another. "If your child offers generous praise to other children, they may be more likely to stand up for others," Graham says. This is because they recognize when others deserve praise, and have the ability to share that recognition, rather than turning it into jealousy, or a competition.
5. They're In Touch With Their Emotions
"Children who are in touch with their emotions are often times more likely to stand up to bullying," Graham says. This is because they're not afraid to display emotion, or look a certain way in front of their peers. Graham goes on to say that fostering a sense of comfort with a wide array of emotions, and emotional well being in your children, is key to raising healthy kids.
6. They're Giving
Beyond the giving of tangible things, generous kids are more likely to give of themselves unto others, Graham says. And standing up for others is a prime example of giving of yourself.
7. They Show Empathy
"Children who are able to relate to other children's emotions, how they might be feeling, children who are empathetic are much more likely to stand up for others than children who don't show empathy at all," Graham says. Practice empathy at home by asking your child how certain situations might make them feel. Whether it's other kids at school, or things that happen on their favorite TV shows, getting them to put themselves in someone else's shoes will help breed their empathy.
8. They Aren't Afraid To Speak Their Mind
If your kid is unafraid to speak their mind, even when their opinion isn't the most popular, you've got yourself a kid who's probably going to stand up for others, even if it might make people uncomfortable. "Children who hesitate in standing up for others are often those who don't have strong opinions, or aren't comfortable voicing them," Graham says.
9. They Take Responsibility For Their Actions
By raising a child who takes responsibility for their actions, you're raising a child who will stand up for others. Because children who learn to take responsibility for their actions will grow up believing that everyone should take responsibility for their actions. "If you hold your children to that responsibility, they will in turn hold others to that same responsibility," Graham says.
10. They're Inquisitive
Kids who are eager to learn about lifestyles that don't resemble their own, with the right guidance, are kids who grow up to become advocates of kindness and inclusivity. "By answering your child's questions about race, gender, and more, and by answering them in a positive, inclusive way, you'll be raising them to encourage the same inclusive behavior in others," Graham says. It may be exhausting to answer all of your child's questions about every little thing, but in the long run, you're doing everyone a favor by treating their questions with patience and an open mind.
11. They're Confident
If your kid isn't afraid of much, whether it's giving a speech at school, acting in the school play, telling a truth you may not want to hear, or even marching to the beat of their own drum — they'll be much more apt to stand up for others. "Children who are comfortable in their own skin have no qualms about standing up for others," Graham says. Instilling a sense of confidence in your child may just help them become the type of kid who stands up for others.