Research in the journal PLoS ONE found that pre-teens who are kind are happier and actually have more friends than their less-friendly counterparts.
The study choose 400 kids age nine to twelve and divided them into two groups. The first group performed acts of kindness and recorded how they felt, while the second recorded their feelings after visiting nice places. After four weeks, children in both groups reported feeling better but only the first group found that their peers accepted them more. Researchers measured acceptance by having all the students circle the names of the classmates would most like to work with on a school activity. The most-circled students were the ones who were in the first study group, who did kind things like hugging their moms after a hard day at work or shared their lunch with a classmate. The hope is that teachers will add more activities in their classrooms that will give their students the chance to demonstrate prosocial, or compassionate, behavior. That will lead to more peer acceptance and will likely (hopefully) lead to a decrease in bullying.
Words: Desiree Browne, assistant editor