How to Help Your Child Develop Empathy

Kids are natural born narcissists. How can parent help them develop a sense of empathy and compassion toward others? Brian Gresko has a few suggestions.


The first step toward building empathy is talking about feelings with your kid. For a young child, like my four-year-old, instead of asking rhetorical questions like “Why would you hit your friend?” I simply tell him straight-up: Hitting is wrong. It’s not how we treat people. Socratic methods might work for older children, or those with a more advanced emotional palette, but at least for my hard-headed, firecracker of a little boy, it doesn’t get through. In fact, it often aggravates the problem, because the questions perplex him, or else open the door to another conflict.