Monday, December 5, 2011

Developing Empathy

How do children learn to have empathy for others? They learn it by experiencing empathy themselves.

When children are upset, you can show empathy by identifying the feeling they are expressing and then making a guess as to why they are feeling that way. For example if your child is crying you might say, “You look really sad. Is it because we have to leave now?” If you guess right, your child may cry even harder because you’ve acknowledged the feeling.

However, children also recover more quickly after feeling heard. By expressing empathy for your child, the whole incident will probably go more smoothly than had you responded “stop crying” or “you’re fine”.

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