|Concerned with what it saw as a precipitous decline in empathy, Sesame Street Workshop commissioned a study, K is for Kind, to examine the issue. Among other things, the researchers found that both parents (70%) and teachers (86%) felt that "the world is an unkind place for children." However, we were heartened to learn that a large majority of both groups believed that raising kind children is critical, rating it as even more important than academic success.
But here's the problem: While most parents believe they are raising kind, empathetic children, only one-third of teachers agree with this. This disconnect suggests that parents may not be sharing the kindness message with their children as effectively as they believe. One possible explanation: Parents put manners before empathy, suggesting that they may be focusing on "please" and "thank you" rather than on the skills necessary to grow compassion. Below are tips for brushing up on those skills.
-Jenny Friedman, Executive Director