Ask any new parent what qualities they hope to cultivate. If they could instill just one characteristic into their child, what would it be?
Because most moms and dads only want the best for their babies, you might expect to hear about intelligence, tolerance and respect. Maybe even curiosity, resiliency and bravery. However, according to Motherly’s 2019 State of Motherhood survey, one trait in particular is truly taking over. Believe it or not, it’s kindness that’s incredibly important, as it’s the number one trait moms hope their kids have.
kindness (noun): the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate
So, why the emphasis on kindness? Our partners at CEB Iconoculture believe it’s because Millennials are a kinder breed than young adults before them. This generation is 91% more likely to say they’re more thoughtful than their parents. And more than half (54%) of Millennial parents say they’re making more of an effort to teach their children kindness than their parents did for them.
To gain some personal insight, we asked our very own Millennial moms (and future Millennial moms) how they plan on cultivating kindness in their kids.
Here’s what they had to say:
- Lauren Zuzelski • Partner, Account Director – Lauren is almost always thinking of others, so it’s no surprise her kids are, too. The Zuzelskis are regulars at Forgotten Harvest and Grace Centers of Hope – both small organizations making a big impact.
- Katie Rehrauer • Partner, Account Director – Katie is a mother of two happy, healthy boys. Both have donated boxes of toys they don’t play with anymore, and her oldest son likes to color “get well cards” when friends at school are out sick.
- Kim Luebke • Partner, Account Director – Kim is raising two kids (ages 3 and 1) and beautifully teaching them both about empathy. Together as a family, they’ve purchased school supplies for the less fortunate, as well as donated coats and books. Additionally, at an Easter egg hunt in the spring, Kim’s daughter decided to “spread the wealth” – walking around giving her eggs to those who didn’t get as many. (Proud mom moment!)
- Kaitlynn Crane • Associate, Senior Copywriter – I’m expecting my first child in December, but I’ve always looked forward to adopting a family, as a family. During the holiday season especially, I want my kids to understand gratitude and generosity. I hope they’ll be thankful for what they have, while also wanting to help those who don’t have as much.
- Gabrielle Champine • Account Manager – While kids aren’t in the cards just yet, Gabby is passionately planning for the future. When asked, she said, “I hope I instill kindness in every fiber of my children’s being.” She feels it’s an important part of a person’s mental health, and her biggest lesson will be: Sad? Go do something selfless.
As you can see, the idea of cultivating kindness is popular here at Brogan & Partners, but we’re not the only ones. In fact, the Ivy League experts at the Harvard Graduate School of Education recently released a four-step plan for raising kind kids.
For Millennial moms and dads, they suggest:
- Give kids ongoing opportunities to practice kindness. The more chances they have to be caring, the more that behavior becomes second nature. Millennial parents could let their children help with chores, help a friend with homework and/or help the needy.
- Help them see multiple perspectives. Harvard recommends children learn to “zoom in” and listen closely to the people in their immediate circle, but also see the bigger picture. The author of the study wrote, “By zooming out and taking multiple perspectives, including the perspectives of those who are too often invisible (such as the new kid in class, someone who doesn’t speak their language, or the school custodian), young people expand their circle of concern.”
- Be a strong moral role model. Think “monkey see, monkey do.” Children are like sponges, and they’re always watching. The more they see their parents going above and beyond to be kind, the more they will.
- Teach kids to cope with destructive feelings. Researchers say the ability to care about others can be overwhelmed by your own feelings. So, when a child is feeling anger or envy, they need to know helpful ways to work through them.
Want generational insights about Millennials and more? At Brogan, we’ve made it our mission to follow consumer values across all cohorts, which means we’re reviewing them regularly. Studying what’s most important to a group of people is how we’re able to understand them, their wants, needs and aspirations. So, if you want to peek inside the mind of your target audience, we can help. To get started, subscribe to the Brogan Weekly Recap.