Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Keys to Raising Compassionate Kids Who Are a Force For Good

How can you encourage kids to act with more compassion? Before your children can act compassionately, they need to be able to feel empathy for others.

Without empathy there is no compassion. Children must first notice that someone is suffering before they can act in a helpful way.

Dr. Theresa Wiseman identified four attributes of empathy:
  • to be able to see the world as others see it
  • without judgment
  • recognize their emotions
  • communicate your understanding of what they are feeling
When your children feel empathy, they can imagine what it must be like for that other person. Children often want to do something to help. Compassion requires acting on empathic feelings and doing something to lessen the other person’s suffering.

Feeling empathy without taking action to help can lead to feelings of distress. In Daniel Goleman’s book, A Force For Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World, he explains, “When we simply empathize, tuning in to someone else’s suffering – for example, seeing vivid photos of burn victims and other people in grave distress – the brain fires the circuitry for feeling pain and anguish. Such empathic resonance can flood us with emotional upset – ‘empathy distress’, as science calls it. Professionals like nursing are too often plagued by such chronic anxiety, which can build to emotional exhaustion, a precursor to burnout.” 
 


Post a Comment