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Does your child know the Golden Rule? - Teach your kids kindness and compassion.

Photo by Ashley Whitlatch on Unsplash


You must be wondering what the golden rules is? A week before Ahaan was sitting doing his art activity that his teacher Miss Mary was teaching and he was really excited to learn his scribble scrabble art. She then asked everyone the question “Tell me children, what is the Golden rule?” she told to raise hand if you know it.

I was sitting next to him saw him raising his hand, I was not sure what he will say and when it was his turn, he said we should not run in the class and not trouble anyone. The other kids started their own version of not misbehaving in the class. It was a moment for me when I realized how important it is to teach every kid the Golden rule.


What is this Golden rule?

The Ethic of Reciprocity is the golden rule which is widely referred as one of the most universal of all principles. It is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. If we talk in the simple sense, it means treat others like you want them to treat you. This golden rule serves as your child’s internal moral compass to help guide their social behavior and daily actions. This rule is very simple stated, but it is not so simple to follow.

What does it tell?

  1. Everyone should be kind towards others. Kindness is to live to one’s essence. We need to teach our kids that kindness which means to treat everything with respect.
  2. It also tells people to give the helping hand to one who is in trouble. We should teach our kids to help the needy.
  3. Sharing is also one of the important parts of this Golden rule. Sharing love, emotions and things is what kids should learn.
  4. Last and very important is to include everybody. Nobody should feel left out. We should ask kids how would they feel if nobody wants to play with you? They should be taught this important aspect of inclusion.


How to teach The Golden Rule to kids?

If you teach your child about the golden rule early, you will grow to see the value of this simple rule. There's a natural development that kids go through cognitively, that tracks along with what it means to do the right thing or be a good person.

To Preschoolers

Children learn from people around them. It can be their parents or teacher. We should keep this in mind that very young kids are observing you and others in the environment. If they witness kindness, patience and consideration and forgiveness, they will also learn this how should one treat others. Children between the age of 18 months to 5 are very social. Not everyone your child meet is going to model this golden rule. Other children and adults can be thoughtless and hurtful in their surroundings. Although you cannot protect your child to what they see, hear and experience but you can definitely access about their perception by asking “what they did was not nice, was it?”. Never give any judgement to the kid like “they did it wrong”. Always give your child an opportunity to figure out and sense what is right and what’s wrong.

The object is not to create “self-righteousness” in your little one, but to acknowledge their natural knowing.

If your child is the one who is thoughtless and hurtful, you can address their mistake by simply pointing out to that particular behavior that you want them to improve. You should also give them the alternative to that behavior for the next time if they have the similar choices. Learning involves mistake and one learns from their mistakes. Just remember to be consistent. Be patient to them and use repetition and empathy when pointing out to their mistake.

Teach them to say” I am sorry”. If your child sees you asking for forgiveness is what they will learn eventually.


Age 5+

When kids start going to school, they have already developed basic stance of this golden rule. It is not that they are expert, they will make mistakes. They will also be exposed to many other children, some of them who don’t have the basic manners and sense. What you need to do is reinforce the concept of treating others the way yourself to be treated to our kids.

If your child has not been treated nice, its very hard for a child to be nice to them. Teach your kid to be patient and take a deep breath before reacting to any situation. We need to make them believe that the best decision takes place after taking time to think. We should discourage them to be impulsive in this situation.

If you think your child has been picked in regularity, it does not mean he/she should suffer the atrocities on the hand of the other classmates by forgiving them all the time and following the golden rule. You are their advocate and have to step in.

The objective of golden rule is very simple. It is basically to create and maintain the harmony which can only be accomplished by right thoughts, action and words. Everybody can learn this in their family setting. If we use it as a set standard of behavior at home, it is going to be very easy for kids to practice the golden rule.

Older children face more difficult challenges and moral dilemmas. We as a parent need to help them out in order for them to find a solution. The foremost important thing to do with the older kids are listening to them with compassion and empathy. They will probably stumble upon the situation or a clearer way to approach a problem if they share and talk to you. We need to make our kids believe that you trust their choices and they have the ability to make the right judgement as to what is good and what is bad. Convey the truth that everybody is learning, and nobody has got it right yet. Giving them the advice and after talking to them, just follow up with them on the problem. You will be surprised as to what is so big that day looks so small to them today.

If your child is always at the receiving end of the hurt, then make sure you need to build your child’s self-esteem. We can do this by incorporating various activities such as by imposing positive affirmations and by learning martial arts and self-defense. Golden rule does not teach us to be meek all the time. It has to be balance between the meekness and the boldness.

If your child is offending someone, teach them with kindness but very firmly there and then but not in front of everyone, but private.  The key is to ask questions as to how would you like, if someone would have done this to you? This is not to humiliate the child but to make them see from the other’s perspective. Explore alternative thoughts and actions or words your child can use it.


Just remember: Your child will have many experiences in life that will test their adherence to the Golden Rule, but if you live it at home, model it, and expect your child to follow it, the Golden Rule will become part of your child’s emotional, moral and spiritual fiber.

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