Parenting is exhausting. Everyone and their dog seems to feel the need to give you ‘advice’ and everywhere you turn something is telling you how technology is ruining your children. Every corner of the web has new methods and new worries for parents to consider. Yet, underneath it all, the foundations of good parenting haven’t really changed.

Harvard researchers are saying that the success and happiness of your child does not have to come at the expense of their empathy and compassion. They go on to say that there are a few methods that continue to be the best way to shape your child into the morally upstanding and contributing member of society that you want them to be.

We promise not to overwhelm you. Here are only 6 practical tips to raise a good kid:

1.Hang out with them

If you only listen to one of these tips – this is the one! You need to regularly spend time with your kids. Ask them questions about themselves and the world (and how they see it) that are open-ended. Really listen to their answers. Not only will you learn so much about your child, you will also demonstrate how to show care and concern for other human beings.

2.If it’s important, tell them!

“Even though most parents and caretakers say that their children being caring is a top priority, often children aren’t hearing that message.” Say the researchers at Harvard. It’s important you say it with your kids, reiterate how important being kind is. Check in with their teacher, coaches, and other people they work in collaboration with and see how they are doing with teamwork and generally being a decent human being.

3.Teach them to work it out.

Show them how their decisions affect others. If for example, your child wanted to quit a sports team, you should encourage them to locate the source of their desire to quit. Show them how their leaving might affect the team, and assess if quitting solves the root problem.

4.Make thankfulness and helpfulness a part of your routine.

The Harvard researchers found that “…people who engage in the habit of expressing gratitude are more likely to be helpful, generous, compassionate, and forgiving — and they’re also more likely to be happy and healthy.” It’s important that parents assign chores, ask their kids to help their siblings, and express gratitude throughout the day. As for rewarding “good” behaviour, parents should only praise uncommon acts of kindness.

5.Curb your child’s destructive tendencies.

Another thing the researchers point out is that “The ability to care for others is overwhelmed by anger, shame, envy, or other negative feelings,”. You need to work with your child to process negative emotions and help them achieve a safe resolution. This will help them remain focused on being a caring person.

6.Teach your kids that they are part of a bigger picture.

“Almost all children empathise with and care about a small circle of families and friends,” say the researchers again, but the trick is to get them to care about people outside this circle. This can be done by showing them how to be good listeners, helping them understand things from another person’s point of view, and teaching them empathy – using teachable moments in news or entertainment.

Raising a child to be respectful, ethical, and caring always has and always will be difficult. But don’t despair,  you can do it! And there is no other work that is more important, or as satisfying.