Young children who have experienced compassionate love and empathy from their mothers may be more willing to turn thoughts into action by being generous to others, a University of California, Davis, study suggests.
In lab studies, children tested at ages 4 and 6 showed more willingness to give up the tokens they had earned to fictional children in need when two conditions were present — if they showed bodily changes when given the opportunity to share and had experienced positive parenting that modeled such kindness. The study initially included 74 preschool-age children and their mothers. They were invited back two years later, resulting in 54 mother-child pairs whose behaviors and reactions were analyzed when the children were 6.
“At both ages, children with better physiological regulation and with mothers who expressed stronger compassionate love were likely to donate more of their earnings,” said Paul Hastings, UC Davis professor of psychology