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All parents know that there is no manual when raising children, so how do you raise empathetic children? Here are a few pointers that you can use when raising your children that will influence empathy within your children.
Be sure that you remember each person is different so when they display their form of empathy, it can be different from yours and other’s form of empathy.
Encouraging face time with your children is especially important. Before children can talk, facial expressions are the manner in which children communicate with others, especially their parents. Whether you are smiling, crying, or upset, children can understand your emotions through the use of empathy.
Children know what these emotions mean and they are happy when you are happy. They are sad when you are sad. We know this for sure because when you smile, most of the time, babies return the smile. When you look sad, babies respond with a pouting face. We know that children can feel the emotions of others through their facial expressions.
This is the first time that you will witness your child showing empathy for others especially if those people are close to the child.
Reading to your children is especially important when raising children. Allowing your child to be exposed to other characters within the early stages of life can really influence empathy within your child. Children’s books are designed to have different emotions within the book to stimulate the empathetic learning young children need.
In addition to reading books, allowing your children to watch appropriate children’s shows will allow the same emotions to develop. Again, these children’s shows are designed to stimulate empathetic thinking and responses to the characters within the shows.
There needs to be a healthy balance when allowing your children to watch shows, however. It is your responsibility as a parent to ensure the shows that your child is watching is instilling the morals and values that you want to be teaching your children.
It is crucial that your children have play time with other children within their age group. Being able to play with other children will stimulate empathy as well. When a child gets hurt on the playground or falls off their bike, children are more likely to show empathy.
There are children that will even begin to show signs of compassionate empathy, empathy in which others act based on the emotions of a situation. You will notice that as children being to build stronger empathetic characteristics will offer a helping hand to other children that may have fallen, skin their knee, or even are picked on by other children.
These skills are crucial to developing empathy that will carry on throughout the rest of their lives. Being able to assess the situation and respond accordingly through the empathy that they outwardly display, is a good sign that your child is learning how to be empathetic.
Empower Your Children
Allow your child to outwardly show empathy towards others. As children grow older, they realize and understand more than you may know. There are many videos on the internet that prove this as a fact. There are videos of children helping animals, children offering food to the homeless, hugging people because they are sad.
These are all perfect examples of children that have been encouraged and empowered to show empathy to those that deserve it most. Of course, as a parent you must use your own discretion; however, do not stifle their urge to empathize with others and allow them to act on the emotions that they are feeling towards others.