I was running errands this weekend with my preschooler, who operates at a leisurely pace under nearly all circumstances. Clutching my shopping list, I headed straight for the produce section as soon as I entered the grocery store. He decided to stop at the floral section. He picked out a bouquet, placed it in our shopping cart, and said, “This one is beautiful for you, Momma.”
My son reminded me that love is a good reason to pause—and a recent study by psychologist Mirka Hintsanen and her colleagues reminds us all that experiencing love in childhood can help kids grow into compassionate adults.
For over three decades, researchers have followed over 2,700 three to 18 year olds in Finland as part of the ongoing Young Finns Study. At the start of the study in 1980, their parents completed questionnaires about their relationships with their children on two dimensions of love: warmth and acceptance. They measured warmth with items like, “I enjoy spending time with my child” and “My child enables me to fulfill myself.” The survey on acceptance measured parents’ tolerance and intolerance of their children and included three items: “I become irritated when being with my child,” “In difficult situations, my child is a burden,” and “My child takes too much of my time.”
[For more on this story by MARYAM ABDULLAH, go to https://greatergood.berkeley.e...e_more_compassionate]