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Three Prosocial Behaviors You Would Want to Teach Young Children

by Michelle Blessing

Parents should strive to teach their children pro-social behaviors, because such actions are intended to help another person or group of people. Pro-social behaviors should not be confused with the term altruism, which refers to the motivation behind the behavior rather than the behavior itself. Pro-social behaviors help children interact with others in effective, appropriate and successful ways, according to Earlychildhood NEWS, an online resource for teachers and parents. There are a handful of pro-social behaviors a child should learn, and a parent should consider placing an emphasis on the following.

Sharing

Children generally learn to share from an early age. Sharing helps children learn the importance of giving to others in need. A child who is able to share his toys with others is likely to become a generous adult. Sharing teaches a child that the world can provide for him when times get tough provided that he is willing to return the favor if, and when, necessary.

Helping

Helping and sharing go hand-in-hand. Helping includes acts of kindness, recusing someone or removing their distress, according to Earlychildhood NEWS. Removing another person's distress can provide a child with a sense of accomplishment and an internal sense of being a good person. In addition, the ability to make another person feel good about herself or helping another by removing their source of pain can increase a child's self-esteem. Teaching your child to help others is likely to increase the chances that she child will seek out help if she needs it as she will have experienced how important it is first hand.

Cooperating

Cooperation is a key concept in adult life. Adults need to cooperate in many facets, such as in work and with relationships. Children who are unable to cooperate may struggle to work effectively with others during their formative years. In addition, cooperation helps children learn to delegate responsibility, and it teaches children about dependability since others are likely depending on them for some reason. Working together for a common goal can also increase a child's self-esteem, much like helping another person can.

How To Develop Pro-social Behaviors

Parents can do several things to foster pro-social behaviors. Be a positive role model; if your child sees you acting in a positive way, he is more likely to follow suit. Encourage your child to play with others; play is one of the best and most common ways children learn to interact with others. Play encourages helping, sharing and cooperating -- three pro-social behaviors you should attempt to teach your child.

About the Author

Michelle Blessing has experience in child development, parenting, social relationships and mental health, enhanced by her work as a clinical therapist and parent educator. Blessing's work has appeared in various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and is pursuing her master's degree in psychology with a specialization in applied behavior analysis.

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