Parenting – The Gift of Empathy

Parents often ask me, “How can I best support my child or teen?”  My answer, “Be empathic.”  Listen to what your kid has to say, try to understand his/her feelings, and view situations from his/her perspective.  You do not have to share your child’s feelings or agree with them.  What is important is that you have compassion for your child’s feelings, that you show you care.

Being empathic does not mean accepting inappropriate behaviors, giving in to unreasonable demands, or not pushing your child to undertake challenges.  As Kenneth Barish, PhD, an expert on parenting notes, empathy is not indulgence.  You can empathize with your child or teen and still impose limits and expectations that your kid needs to feel secure and to thrive.

 by Carol Sampson