How to support your child’s empathy

 

  • Talk to your child about how they are feeling and acknowledge their emotions.

 

  • Encourage your child to think about the way others might be feeling in a certain situation, and then talk through scenarios of what an outsider could do in that situation.

 

  • Talk to your child about situations where people have morally disengaged; try to explain how this could happen and the impact this may have on others.

 

  • Encourage your child to embrace other cultures and diversity; visit other countries and respect their traditions and explain how they are different from your own.

 

  • Let your child experience adversity, real or contrived.Let them watch and/or hear news about natural disasters or war, deaths or illnesses of loved ones, parental divorce or job loss.

 

  • Love your child unconditionally.

 

  • Teach and model social justice.Show your child how to stand up for himself/herself and others, how to carry out thoughtful acts for others, and how to integrate acts of service into daily life, throughout life.

 

  • Read and watch TV together; even the simplest book will have characters that your child can learn to empathise with.  Do not just read, but discuss what characters are feeling as the story progresses.

 

  • After conflicts, discuss what everyone was feeling.

 

  • Let your child see you resolve conflicts in your own life by taking the other party’s perspective.

 

  • Model respect for those who seem different. Allow your child to see that people, regardless of age, race, gender, disability or sexual orientation, are more similar to them than different.