Creating An Empathetic Child, Part 2

Parents,

Let’s admit it, we all tend to be self-absorbed at times. This goes for you, and me, AND our kids! Hopefully, as adults we realize this negative personality trait and work (with God’s strength) to put others above ourselves. However, this idea of thinking of another person’s feelings may be like speaking a foreign language to your child.

In American society, we tend to talk about our own personal feelings A LOT. One of the repercussions is we think of our feelings first BEFORE considering the feelings of others around us-the exact opposite of compassion and empathy. How can we help our children see beyond themselves to be people who are compassionate and empathetic toward others?

Surround ourselves with people who are different from us, all the while finding what we have in common with them. This helps our children see that all people are REAL PEOPLE.
As a parent be authentic and kind to everyone (the store clerk, the bus driver, the person cutting in front of you in line).
Don’t prioritize YOUR child’s happiness over others.
Reading and discussing literary fiction is a great way to help your children see how they relate to other people.
Research suggests that kids develop a strong sense of empathy when their own emotional needs are met at home. Also, kids will show more empathetic concern for others when they have parents who help them cope with negative emotions in a sympathetic, problem-solving way.

When you read the story of Job you see him battling with friends who show NO compassion or empathy. All they do is judge him and tell him what he’s doing wrong. What Job needed was an empathetic and compassionate friend and he got NOTHING close to that. Let’s make sure we help our children develop into empathetic, compassionate people who value individuals for the unique creation they are.

Partnering with you,

Mike Sheley

p.s. If you haven’t checked it out already, this post goes with the original found in our Online Parenting Class! (click text to go to link)

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