By: Steve Palmer
One of the most important skills we can teach our kids is empathy. Empathy is the ability to see and value what another person is feeling or experiencing.
When we see someone in pain and feel that response in our own gut, that’s empathy. When we see someone crying tears of joy at an important reunion and notice ourselves choking up, that’s empathy. When we see someone struggling with a problem and feel an emotional pull to help, that’s empathy.
It’s a core skill for what psychologists call “pro-social” behavior – the actions that are involved in building close relationships, maintaining friendships, and developing strong communities. It appears to be the central reality necessary for developing a conscience, as well. Raising empathetic kids might seem like a challenging task, but kids are empathetic by nature!…
So, what are some ways to help support our kids’ development of empathy, and the ability to respond to others in constructive ways?
Here are a few points to consider:
- Help your kids put words to their emotions.
- Feel out loud
- Include empathy as part of discipline
- Reward empathy.
- Be patient.