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Teaching empathy to children

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10/04/14

I think that it is very important to teach empathy to your children. I have been teaching it to Noah from a young age. I think it's good to ask them how they would feel if someone did that to them or said that to them. It helps them understand how the other person feels. I also ask him if it is a good idea or a bad idea. Being in someone else's shoes is important. It teaches compassion and empathy.

10/04/14

We want our children to be empathetic so they know how others feel if they're treated unkindly. Kids may not realize the impact of their words or actions on others so ask them how they think the other person feels. Would they feel angry, sad or hurt?

Take your child's feelings seriously. Don't brush them off or tell them not to be sad/angry, etc. If you appear dismissive of their feelings, that's not teaching them empathy. Acknowledge and validate what they're feeling.

If your child is old enough, ask them to brainstorm ways how to handle appropriate responses to certain emotions. Screaming and hitting are inappropriate ways to show anger so what's a different way to show you're upset?

Make your child aware of similarities and differences they have compared to other kids. Some kids don't have toys at Christmas time because they're too poor. A natural disaster made lots of families homeless so they don't have anywhere to live. Ask your child how they can help.

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