It’s not just touchy-feely—kids who understand others are more likely to be happy, popular, and excel in school.
As parents, we encourage our kids to become independent and to feel good about themselves—and yet these worthy goals have had some unintended consequences in our social-media culture, says educational psychologist Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of the of the new book Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.
“In the past decades, our kids’ capacity to care has plummeted, while self-absorption has skyrocketed, and it puts their humanity at stake,” she writes. “Today’s culture values ‘me’ more than ‘we.’” Research suggests that giving children opportunities to be empathetic not only helps them personally, but may even be the key to reducing complex problems such as violence and racism.
By Diane Debrovner