The common denominator of all types of bullying is a lack, or erosion, of empathy. Nurturing empathy, a potential that is present in almost all children, is therefore at the heart of interventions to prevent bullying.
In the end, Bazelon raises a larger question: What can we do, as parents, to nurture qualities of empathy and kindness in our children? How can we reduce the risk that our children will get caught up in hurtful teenage drama? How can we help them become "upstanders," not bystanders, to meanness and cruelty?...
Here is what I believe is most essential: Empathy begets empathy. As parents, we need to set aside time to listen patiently and empathically to our children and to repair moments of anger and misunderstanding. When we listen with empathy, when children know that their concerns and their grievances will be heard, we open a pathway toward emotional maturity. In these moments, children become less absorbed in defiant thoughts and argument, more open to compromise, and more caring toward others.
Listening with empathy, however, is not always easy and should not be confused with permissiveness or indulgence...
Kenneth Barish, Ph.D.Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology at Weill Medical College, Cornell University
Culture of Empathy Builder Page: Kenneth Barish
Via Edwin Rutsch