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Cultivate Empathy with These 5 Social Emotional Rules for Kids

Learn the 5 social emotional rules that all parents should teach their kids.

My son was leaving wrestling practice with his head hung low. His backpack dragging on the asphalt parking lot behind him.

He climbed into the car and proceeded to tell me that he wrestled a new kid who pounded him.

“But he was like 200 lbs!” He began in a whiny voice.

I hit the pause button REAL QUICK on that conversation.

First, my son is under 10 years old, so that was not an accurate estimate. It was a snarky comment. Lastly, I was mortified thinking about that child over hearing that comment.

If my son, who is genuinely a big-hearted kid, let a comment like that slip, we needed to have a serious conversation with all our kids.

There is enough negatively in this world. My kids will not be adding to it. Not if I have anything to do with it.

All kids make mistakes when they are socially developing, and these 5 rules will make sure your kid isn’t hurting feelings while they are growing.

Click here for a Daily Kindness Challenge for Kids and 20 Random Acts of Kindness

5 Mandatory Social Emotional Rules

You may be thinking, “Just tell your kid to never make fun of anyone.” End of story.

In reality, it’s not that easy. Kids need concrete rules and real life experiences to truly understand things we are teaching them.

Raise empathetic kids by teaching them these 5 social rules:

1) Never Put Someone Down for Trying

We won’t all win first place. And we can’t all be at the top of the class.

There will always be kids who, despite trying their hardest, will fail at things.

It hurts to not reach your goals. What hurts more? When someone points out your shortcomings in a negative way.

2) Making Negative Comments about Physical Traits is Off Limits

Keep this lesson simple. If it is a trait you can SEE in the mirror, do not say anything negative about it.

This can be size, color, and even if a kid wears glasses.

3) Don’t Talk about Money or Status

Some people will have more than you, and some will have less.

Explain to your child that making fun of someone for having less or bragging about having more are equally as painful in certain situations.

4) Never Take Jabs at Someone’s Personality

Your personality is what makes you special.

Teach your child that if they don’t like someone, that is okay. However, it is never acceptable to make fun of the way someone acts, talks, or feels.

These 5 conflict resolution skills will teach your kids how to handle arguments.

Related: How to Teach Kids what it Means to be a True Friend

5) Don’t Make Fun of Someone for Being Down on Their Luck

We will all have up’s and down’s in life. When someone is having a rough day, week, or heck – year, they need support.

Not only should kids avoid negative comments in these situations, you can teach them how far a supportive comment can go.

Final Thoughts on Social Emotional Rules

Once you have taught your kid these rules, take it one step further.

Ask your kid to step in when they see someone violating one of these rules. Even if your child doesn’t have the courage to stand up to a bully, they can support someone who has been hurt.

This simple step will ensure that you are cultivating empathy in your growing child.

Print this to help have the conversation with your kid:

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