Understanding How Children Develop Empathy

How do children develop prosocial behavior – “voluntary behavior intended to benefit another” – and is there a way to encourage it?

 

Working with a child’s temperament, taking advantage of an emerging sense of self and increasing cognitive understanding of the world and helped by the reward centers of the brain, parents can try to foster that warm glow and the worldview that goes with it. Empathy, sympathy, compassion, kindness and charity begin at home, and very early.

 

By PERRI KLASS, M.D