Teaching Kids the Golden Rule (and the Platinum Rule)

How to teach your child to live by the Golden Rule and think of others. This will help your child develop empathy and have good morals.

Mom talking to her child

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

The famous golden rule.

The Golden Rule is principle five in On Becoming Childwise. This rule ties in well with the “example” discussions we have been having lately.

If you want your children to show you respect, respect them. If you want your children to speak kind words, you speak kind words. The list goes on.

This is also a great tool for teaching children to get along with friends and siblings.

“Would you like it if Kaitlyn didn’t share with you?”
“Then how do you think Kaitlyn feels right now since you won’t share with her?”
“That’s right. Do you want her to feel sad?”
“What do you think you can do about that?”
“Share with her.”


Tap Into Your Child’s Empathy

The key to eliciting the golden rule in a child is tapping into a person’s empathy.

How would the child feel if the tables were turned?

Children are good at imagining things. 

Ask your child how you think the other person is feeling. What do they know about that person? How would your own child feel?

Of course, you need to be calm and loving while asking the prodding questions. If you are yelling at the child, it will be hard for him to focus on being empathetic.

So always remain calm when trying to teach your child to think of others and have empathy toward others.

Your child needs to get into the habit of trying to think of others when making decisions. As you have these conversations, it will help your child to stop and think in the moment before reacting.

The Platinum Rule

I never can have a conversation of the Golden Rule without discussing the merits of the Platinum Rule.

My minor is in communications, and one thing we learned about was the platinum rule. This rule states you treat others how they want to be treated.

For example, I am not a very touchy-feely type.

Kaitlyn, on the other hand, is a touchy-feely type.

If I followed the Golden Rule to the letter of the law, I would not lavish her in hugs and kisses because I personally wouldn’t like that.

If I follow the platinum rule, however, then I offer her lots of hugs and kisses because that is how she desires to be treated. 

You obviously would need to know someone well enough to know what they want versus what you want, so the Golden Rule is generally a good way to go.

Also, a child probably doesn’t have the processing skills to work that all out, so when talking with your children, sticking with the Golden Rule works.

Also, I think there is a “spirit of the law” with the Golden Rule that can take you to the Platinum Rule without having a platinum rule.

I think you would like to have others take the time to know you, know your likes, and work to accommodate those likes. If you apply the Golden Rule to that idea, then you have no need for the Platinum Rule.

Whew! Are you all totally confused?

Basically, teach your children to treat others how they would like to be treated.

On a child’s level, it will be simplistic. As an adult, work to treat others how they want to be treated, because in the end, that is what we all want.

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2 thoughts on “Teaching Kids the Golden Rule (and the Platinum Rule)”

  1. Its basically like your love languages. Have you read that book? You have to give love to people in the language they understand. For Kaitlyn her language in hugs and kisses so thats how you show love to her. Good way to sum up a whole 150 page book in one succinct blog. 🙂


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