Aha! Parenting Blog: When Empathy Doesn’t “Work”

In fact, empathy is so effective in reconnecting with our upset child and helping her calm down that it takes us by surprise when it “doesn’t work.”


But empathy isn’t a tactic to control the other person. It’s a means of connection, and of helping our child process emotion. So when empathy doesn’t “work,” consider whether you’re really connecting, and whether you’re helping your child with her emotions.


Here are the problems I hear most often from parents about “using” empathy:


1. “Empathy makes my child cry harder.”…

2. “Empathy doesn’t stop the tantrum.”…

3. “I keep repeating ‘You are very sad and frustrated’ but they get mad and tell me not to say it.”..


by Laura Markham