Study Reveals That a Mother's Kindness Directly Impacts the Generosity of Young Children

Photo: (Photo : Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels)

A recent study suggests that a mother's kindness directly impacts the generosity of young children. 

In the lab studies, young children ages 4 to 6 are tested and shown that they are more willing to give up the token that they have earned to make-believe children in need when these two factors are present: 

  • One is when those young children feel their mother's kindness,
  • Another is when they see specific changes once allowed to share. 

At first, the study was composed of 74 young preschool children and their mothers. They were asked to come back two years later, where their number decreased to 54 mother and child pairs whose actions and answers were observed when the young children were six years of age. 

The mother's kindness

Based on the study's author, children who felt their mother's kindness and love were likely to donate more of their earnings. It showed that a mother's kindness helps in the growth of their children's values in helping others in need and helping them have a close relationship with one another.

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Recording young children's heart rate

After putting a device to record the young children's heart-rate level in each lab test, the expert told the children that they would be earning tokens for many projects that they will do and that the tokens will be turned in for a prize. The tokens are then put inside a box where each child, later on, earned 20 prize tokens. 

Before each session ended, the children were told to donate all or part of their tokens to other children. 

In the first instance, they were told that these were for sick children who can't come and play the game, and in the second instance, the children were told that those children were having a hard time in their lives. 

While the children are doing such tasks and games, their mothers are asked a series of questions. The questions are about each mother's kindness to their children and their love for their children and other people in general.

They were asked to choose and select phrases in a survey like, "I would rather engage in actions that help my child than engage in actions that would help me," "Those whom I meet through my work and public life can assume that I will be there if they need me," "I would rather suffer myself than see someone else (a stranger) suffer." 

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Results of the study

The results showed that children's generosity is linked to their social skills with people and their mother's kindness and love. 

The results were the same for children ages 4 to 6. 

Aside from the results showing where children are willing to donate their game earnings, the authors also observed that giving others seemed to benefit the children. 

For both children ages 4 and 6, the results showed that children who gave more tokens were calmer after the games than those who gave no or few tokens. The authors also wrote that selfless actions might have effects for soothing one's pleasure. Being more calmly after sharing something could strengthen the generous behavior that produced that good feeling.

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