Kids tend to learn a great deal from their parents concerning empathy and the capacity to treat others with respect and kindness. When they are allowed to show how they feel they can form more secure attachments that can allow them to become caring, empathetic adults later on in life. This is why it is so important for adults to serve a model for children to follow. Kids will learn by example, and if an adult shows that it is okay and even beneficial to show compassion for another person then a child will eagerly follow that course. It will still be up to the adult to define what is needed and what is appropriate in terms of being empathetic to another human being, but the main part of teaching a child how to be a concerned and caring adult is to show them firsthand what it can do.
How You Can Help Your Child Learn Empathy
There are a few ways you can benefit your child by helping them to understand what empathy is all about and even guide them to using it when in appropriate situations.
1) Get to know your child.
Ask them questions. Get to know their routines, their friends, who they hang out with, and what they do during an average day. You don’t need to be too nosey, but staying involved can show them that you care and are genuinely interested in them and everything they do. This can show what it means to really be invested in someone to the point that you notice when something is a little off. Plus, this is a good way to keep track of your kids without being a helicopter parent.
2) Show empathy for others in front of your child.
Don’t hold your feelings in for the sake of your child. Let your feelings out when you need to in order to show them that it’s okay to help others and share emotions with them when needed. This can show them that it’s okay to cry, be happy, or just be supportive of another person.
3) Take care of yourself in every way possible.
The more you tend to your own needs the more balanced of a life you will lead. This will allow you to focus on others far more as you will be less likely to be working out your own issues. By maintaining a balanced life it is often easier to care for others and empathize with their issues. Also, it can help you to lead by example when your own kids look to you for guidance.
A good example is always the best way to teach anyone, be they children or adults. With children however it is best to lead in this manner so that they have a proper guide as they continue their personal development.