Parents can create countless teachable moments to help their kids understand how it might feel to be in someone else’s shoes and to convey empathy through words & actions.
Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. As discussed in my recent blog, “The Power of Empathy vs. the Power of Bullies,” empathy is defined as recognizing, understanding, and caring about how someone feels, or being able to put yourself in someone’s shoes. "Treat others the way you want to be treated” is the modified golden rule that conveys empathy. Parents can offer their children loads of opportunities to increase their sensitivity toward others, to understand how a person is feeling, or how it might feel to be in someone else’s situation.
When I was finishing my graduate studies in psychology, one piece of raising children stuck out to me – that of teaching empathy.
Science now shows that children are born with empathy. It’s the reason they begin to cry when another baby or child cries. This is truly their (our) natural state. However, we get culturally conditioned out of being empathetic.
Q: What can you do to ensure your child’s natural empathetic style stays with them through adulthood?
A: Be empathetic yourself – as a parent, as a partner, as a human being..
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