When it comes to raising kids, it is usually best to lead by example. It’s not enough to tell them to do this or do that; words still need to be backed up by actions. In a study published in the journal Child Development, moms were found to be effective role models for teaching children to consider other people’s feelings and perspectives as well as their own. Those who not only tell their children to listen to other points of view, but also put themselves in other people’s shoes, reportedly help their children shift perspectives more easily.
For two years, researchers studied more than 120 Australian kids aged four to six. Some of them developed their language skills normally while others were slightly delayed in this aspect. Regardless, both groups were measured for their ability to infer other people’s beliefs as well as their ability to see things from various perspectives. Mothers were also asked about how they communicated with their children.
After analyzing the results, the researchers found that, among the participants with typical language development, those whose mothers talked to them more often about other people’s emotions had better language skills and were able to identify with other points of view besides their own more easily. While the kids who had yet to fully develop their own language skills didn’t produce the same positive results, according to researchers, this may not have been an issue of how their mothers talked to them.
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