Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Helping our Children be Prosocial


Prosocial behavior is defined as voluntary behavior intended to benefit another (Eisenberg & Fabes, 1998).


Research has found that prosocial children are:
  • More likely to assume the best in people
  • Less likely to get angry or upset
  • More likely to preserve the relationship in times of conflict
These come from Nelson & Crick (1999)

Knowing that prosocial behaviors are beneficial to children the question then is, how do we help our children develop prosocial behaviors?

The following have been found to be beneficial in developing prosocial children:
  • Authoritative child rearing: using inductive reasoning rather than coercive tactics and love withdrawal to maintain control
  • Engagement in tasks that benefit the family unit: there is value in working together as a family for a common goal
  • Warm verbal approval (not material reward) and encouragement for prosocial behavior
  • Practice what you preach: If you consistently engage in prosocial behaviors then your children will follow your example
These come from Dr. Nelson's SFL 351 class at Brigham Young University (Lecture #23-24)
The biggest thing we can do as parents to help foster prosocial behavior in our children is to be prosocial ourselves!
What thoughts do you all have about these ideas?

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