Tactfulness is the art of using discretion and sensitivity when speaking and relating to those around you. It is a great quality that helps one avoid awkward situations, and become a better friend to everyone. Children are born quite the opposite of this trait, but it is easier for them to understand as they grow older.
If your child can learn to be tactful as a young person, it will save them from a lot of misunderstanding. Here is how you can help your child to become a tactful individual who is comfortable in their conversations both with friends and strangers.
Teaching Your Child about Telling the Truth
Our children need to know that honesty is important, and must be taught to tell the truth. Give them a foundation in what being honest is all about, and what it isn’t. Some people mistakenly believe that being honest means they can say whatever they want, whenever they want to. This is not true, and it can be hurtful and harmful to the people around them. Truthfulness and tact are excellent partners, as they balance each other.
Educating about the Need for Tact
Talk to your child about how necessary tact is. Explain that when we fail to use tact, people’s feelings can be hurt, and the health of our relationships can be put at risk. Tell your child about situations where tact is essential and that it can be necessary for the safety of others. For example, in the relationships that world leaders hold with each other, tactful speech is crucial. There are also many others times where there is a necessity for using soft words rather than being completely blunt in a person’s speech.
Give Examples of Where Tact Was Not Used
Talk to your children about situations where tact was not used. Discuss the consequences to the individual who did not use tact, and to the one who was on the receiving end. Explain that Aunt Sally probably felt bad when cousin Sam told her that her dress was ugly, and how cousin Sam may have then been viewed as an uncaring individual. Talk about what could have been done differently in the situation.
Give Examples of Where Tact Was Used
Point out situations where tact was used well, and the positive consequences that came from it. Speak about how a friend may have held off an argument through the use of tact and kind words, instead of letting all his anger out. Talk about any world leaders who are known for their peaceful acceptance of others, and how this trait has far-reaching positive effects. Point out all those people who excel in this area, and discuss what you can learn from each of them.
Becoming a tactful person is a journey. Sometimes we hurt people with our words and we don’t even realize it. Make a point of helping your child grow in this area, and everyone your child comes in contact with will benefit from your effort.