Do not expect a child to treat others with compassion and empathy if you are aggressive By Margaret Lubega MANY Christians are looking forward for Christmas celebrations. This means gift sharing, eating, drinking and making merry. But as parents, you can also spice Christmas in a different style. For example, teaching your children the skill of kindness. After all is not Christmas about that? Being unkind to others hurts not only the victim but also those who witness the hurt. For instance, if your child witnesses one child hurting another, she or he might be afraid to go to school, fearing that she or he could be the next victim. Experts on children's behaviour stress that parents need to recognise signs that may show that a child is being treated badly by other children. You can tell when you see a sudden change in behaviour like: Increased meanness between siblings. Cuts and bruises. Ripped or dirty clothing. Unwillingness to go to school. A slip in marks because the child is too afraid to concentrate in class. What parents can do: Try as best as you can to practice kindness as a parent. Truly, you cannot expect your child to treat others with kindness and empathy if your parenting style is based on aggression. Communicate effectively with them Teach your children the difference between tattling, that is, telling because you want to get someone in trouble, and reporting, telling because you are trying to help another person. Explain to your children who have witnessed episodes of victimisation that such behaviour is unacceptable and must be reported to an adult. Unkindness won't go away on its own. It is not a rite of passage. You and the child must make a deliberate effort to do away with it. So that is the Christmas spirit of kindness, which must not stop there but must go on. The skills of kindness and empathy need to be in us all the times. Try a little kindness this season. That way, Christ's spirit of kindness and love will realised in real life. However, being a kind person does not mean that people have to step on you. Merry Christmas.