#AY Andover Youth Community FamilyLife

Is kindness innate? Influenced by parents? Or simply learnt through our favourite films and TV programmes?

As research reveals kindness is a priority for parents and children post-pandemic, we are asking who actually influences who?

  • 78 per cent of Brits have said they have become kinder and more compassionate over the last year
  • Over two thirds of UK children have agreed that treating others with the kindness is the most important way to behave
  • 90 per cent of British adults have also said that kindness is the first lesson parents teach their children
  • Child psychologist Laverne Antrobus says that for generations children “have grown up learning important values and kindness principles from watching their favourite characters on TV”
  • Over three quarters of parents believe the likes of Disney Princesses are positive role models for children and can help teach kids lifelong values

As a nation we have spent the last year in a bubble of kindness – clapping for the NHS, shopping for our neighbours and volunteering to help the vulnerable in whatever way we were allowed. It has been heart-warming to see that the huge surge in kindness among Brits, which is supported by new research revealing that over three quarters (78 per cent) have said they have become kinder and more compassionate over the past year.

However, the question remains as to whether we will be able to keep it up as lockdown restrictions ease and life goes back to normality? According to children in the UK we should make it a priority. As over three fifths (62 per cent) of UK children have claimed that treating others with kindness is the most important way to behave. Two in six (61 per cent)of those asked listed the importance of being a good friend and 57 per cent said being caring are key attributes we should each possess, according to the research.

The research from Disney, to support their launch their new series of books about courage and kindness, found these strong values held by children are likely to originate with their parents of whom 90% said that they believe kindness is the most important quality and is the first lesson they teach their children.

Though, it might not be parental influence alone which acts as an influence as Psychologist, Laverne Antrobus suggests that “generations have grown up learning important values and kindness principles from watching their favourite characters on TV” and this belief is held by parents in the UK too. Three quarters (75 per cent) of whom believe that the likes of Disney Princesses are positive role models for children and can held teach kids lifelong values, such as the importance of having courage and being kind (77 per cent).

In line with this research Disney have identified their own ‘Children of Kindness” who have themselves displayed extraordinary acts of kindness or shown immense courage. These children are each going to receive a special dedication within Disney’s new Disney Princess digital storybook collection called “Tales of Courage and Kindness” which they are giving out for free to encourage people in the UK to maintain their levels of kindness post-pandemic.

Child Psychologist Laverne Antrobus says, “Teaching children the importance of qualities, like kindness and courage, from a very young age is as important as teaching them Maths, Science or Sport. “Generations have grown up learning important values and kindness principles from watching their favourite characters on TV, at the cinema or reading their favourite books. Characters, such as Disney Princesses, help kids understand these important life skills early on. It’s also important to understand that doing good things for other people is good for our own wellbeing, as it releases endorphins and boosts our serotonin to make us happier.”

Top five ways to behave according to kids:

  1. Treating others with kindness – 62 per cent
  2. Being a good friend – 61 per cent
  3. Being caring – 57 per cent
  4. Trying your best – 55 per cent
  5. Always being honest – 49 per cent

What acts of kindness have your children displayed ? Let us know via email, familylife@loveandover.com

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