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Care and respect keys to parenting

Coloroso to share insights into raising ethical kids

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Children naturally care about those around them but the emotion can be slowly dampened by observed and/or imposed behaviours adopted from their family, peers and environment.

"Watch an 18-month old when they hear a baby in distress," said Coloroso a mother of three grown children. "They are going to go over with their own blanket and try to soothe the baby.

"You ask a four-year-old to help and they can not only comfort somebody they can do it appropriately."

That action of doing the right thing must be embraced because kids who feel right will behave correctly.

Coloroso points to a recent example at the Winter Olympics in Italy in February. During the Games a Norwegian cross-country ski coach, Bjoernar Haakensmoen, handed Canadian competitor Sara Renner a spare ski pole after she broke one during the Nordic ski sprint relay final. Renner went on to win a silver medal while the Norwegians finished fourth.

"I would love him to be the coach of my kids because he walks the walk and talks the talk," said Coloroso.

"He didn’t think about it he just did the right thing."

Haakensmoen was hounded by the press, who pointed out that his action might have cost his own team a medal. The coach was totally perplexed by the global attention saying: "It was natural for me to do it and I think anyone should have done it."

Part of behaving ethically is teaching kids that they are part of a community and behaving ethically is the norm, not something that should be rewarded.

Coloroso is concerned about the focus by groups and schools who use a reward system to encourage good behaviour, like stickers for reading, presents for good report cards and so on.

"We need to be alarmed," said Coloroso, who encourages parents to stop the behaviour cold turkey.

To put it in perspective she offered this example: "Let’s take it to the extreme then. If I buy you flowers and I take you out to a nice dinner then you owe me sex. Everything is a deal, and if a young girl is raised to believe that if (a guy) is nice to me I owe him something rather then let’s be in a relationship, you can see the problem.

"We have now swamped our children with the idea that everything is a deal and it is really impacting our young people today.

"It’s the idea that if I do something good I deserve a reward, that all good deeds are rewarded, and if it is not rewarded it is not worth doing. That is not acting as an ethical human being."

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