Empathetic children, patient parents

QUESTION: My first-grader doesn’t seem empathetic at all.
Last night at dinner, he happily mentioned how when he was introducing himself in a group, his thing that others didn’t know about him was that he hated his older brother. His poor brother looked stricken and almost burst into tears.

If you had asked me before, I would have said they had a very close, friendly relationship. Talking about it later, it was clear he had put zero thought into whether it would hurt his brother’s feelings. He’s good at identifying his own emotions but doesn’t seem to notice anyone else’s at all.

ANSWER: Empathy is such an important part of development, and you’re far from the first to ask why your child doesn’t show empathy. 


By Meghan Leahy