It's Nice to Be Nice: The Building Blocks for Promoting Kindness and Gratitude

It's Nice to Be Nice: The Building Blocks for Promoting Kindness and Gratitude

Deanna Alyssa Villetto (Columbia University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5918-4.ch004

Abstract

Kindness and gratitude are important when teaching children about positive interpersonal relationships. Every day in the United States bullying occurs because of negative influences children contend with in their lives. Parents, teachers, and peers can promote healthy interactions within groups of children through positive reciprocity of emotions and behaviors. This chapter explains how kindness is described as the motivational act of doing a positive behavior for another person; gratitude is described as the highly needed emotion for social and emotional functioning in humans that drive the kind behaviors. Children who practice kindness based on gratitude have better overall happiness outcomes and healthier interpersonal relationships.
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Background

Recent studies have found that children who engage in kind activities will develop a sense of gratitude and stronger interpersonal relationships. Psychology tends to study negative human behaviors and emotions more than positive human behaviors and emotions, so knowledge about kindness and gratitude is lacking (Watkins, Woodward, Stone & Kolts, 2003). Previous studies focused on individuals receiving and re-paying gestures of kindness, while more recent studies focus more on the interpersonal connections that kindness creates and how the emotional feelings of gratitude can positively benefit individuals on the whole (Algoe, 2008). Past research on gratitude focused on the acts of kindness that were offered based on the appraisal of the recipient in the giver’s eyes. Researchers in more recent studies tend to look at the individual’s acts of kindness and how feelings of gratitude can amount to genuine interconnectedness and community building (Algoa, 2008).

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