Make a Difference.....
Tell your children about the bystander effect. This is the social phenomenon that makes it difficult for people to intervene when others around them aren't getting involved. Brainstorm why people might be hesitant to help out when they see bullying or teasing, or just notice someone in need of assistance. Could it be fear? Self-consciousness? Wanting to wait for someone else to take charge? Talk about how to lessen the intimidation we all feel in those situations.
Model getting involved. Research indicates that children who've seen adults and other kids stand up in difficult situations are more likely to do so themselves. If you help out the woman who dropped her groceries, show compassion to victims of unkind behavior, and speak up when someone tells a racist joke, your children will be inclined to model your actions. When you do "stand up," talk to your children about why you intervened and how it felt.
Nurture your child's "heroic imagination." Children are most likely to act altruistically, and even heroically, if they feel their parents would expect it of them. Talk and read about real-life heroes and the difference they've made. Talk about a time when you did something heroic to help another creature.
Empower your child to intervene. Let your children know that intervening makes a difference. Even if they are too frightened, for example, to confront a bully, remind them that there are "quiet" ways to help. They can report the incident to a trusted adult, or comfort the victim by simply standing next to him or her, sending a kind text, calling to voice support, or sitting with him or her at lunch. Explain that each of these is very meaningful...and brave.
Foster caring and social responsibility in your children. Researcher Samuel Oliner, who studied the "rescuers" of Jews in Nazi Europe, discovered that those who displayed "heroic kindness" were most often raised by families that emphasized compassion, inclusiveness and an "ethical responsibility to all life." If you practice kindness with your children each day, they're more likely to act heroically when the need arises.