“True happiness is inseparable from the feeling of giving.”
- Alfred Adler
Social interest is having a feeling, or empathy, for other people and is at the core of cooperation and compassion. When you have social interest you are able to see with others’ eyes and feel with others’ hearts. It’s about caring about others, not more than ourselves but at least as much. We all have it to one degree or another, even though it doesn’t seem that way sometimes. We must have, or how else could all of us puny little humans manage to cooperate in killing all of those giant Woolly Mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers that roamed the earth when we were evolving?
As parents, it’s helpful to realize that social interest is built right into the psychological core of every child; but it has to be nurtured, not smothered by pampering and discouragement. There are many ways for parents to encourage social interest in our children; two of the best are:
- giving children responsibilities around the house
- modeling respectful, caring behaviour yourself