We live in a world full of narcissists and self-obsessed people! They’re no denying it, and in such a world where sometimes kindness is rare, bringing up a child and instilling in him the qualities of giving, humbleness, kindness, giving, compassion, and empathy is a tough task indeed. Here are 5 tips on how to raise your children with strong empathy.
Be Empathetic Yourself
In contrast to the popular notion, children actually tend to imitate what their parents ‘do’ and not listen to what their parents ‘say.’ Actions speak louder than words, and if you want your kids to show empathy, one of the simplest ways is to be empathetic yourself. In the fast paced life that we lead today, we often tend to lose out on patience easily, and demonstrate behaviour that is, in no way, termed as empathetic. Keep track of your behaviour, not only will it help you as an individual, but also help you with your ultimate goal of having your child develop strong empathy.
Read Fiction with Your Kids
Studies have found that reading fiction can help children understand their emotions better, and it helps them relate to what other people feel as well thereby inculcating in them empathy. Reading stories from a first person perspective can have a profound impact on a developing child’s brain and can help train his neural network, which can, help him process his emotions in a better way.
Teaching your children to praise each other and the people around them regularly can have a huge impact! It not only teaches them to be grateful, but also helps them connect with the people around them on a much deeper level. Start by praising your children and other members of the family for every small gesture that they do, and encourage your kids to do the same.
Teaching and encouraging your child to take part in volunteering activities at an early age can be quite helpful. You may be worried about exposing them to the harsh realities of life at such a tender age, but ironically, that is exactly what helps them have more empathy and develop the qualities of humbleness, gratefulness and compassion towards others. Volunteering helps children understand that helping those that are less fortunate is a responsibility and not an option.
Most parents, whether they realize it or not, tend to invalidate negative emotions in their kids right when they spot them, such as fear, anxiety, sadness etc. Doing this is a mistake, because growing kids need to learn and process every type of emotion to understand it better, and develop the complete emotional vocabulary. The next time you see your child feeling sad because someone got hurt, validate his emotions. This will encourage him to see the world through a new lens and for what it truly is.
I hope you enjoyed reading our tips to help raise your children to be a compassionate and empathetic individual!