Why should we worry about teaching empathy in schools and at home?
“Empathy is probably the greatest single gift of our species. We wouldn’t have been able to survive without creating relationships and groups that could function together.” Says Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D, co-author of the book: Born for Love: Why Empathy is Essential- and Endangered.
Our world is too often filled with acts of unkindness and cruelty toward one another. As parents and teachers, it is our responsibility to ensure a kinder future for our world through the work we do with our children. For example, we must teach empathy to our children, starting from a very early age. At home, here are a few simple ways to foster the growth of empathy in your child:
1. Recognizing kindness: If you see your child acting in a kind manner, acknowledge it! Without overdoing the praise, simply let your child know that you observed them engaging in an empathetic act.
2. Making Apologies: Acting as a role model, let your child see you apologize when you’ve made a mistake. And don’t forget to give your child the respect of an apology if you owe them one.
3. Prioritizing Empathy: Encourage your child to put others before themselves. You will help your child develop strong interpersonal skills by helping them realize the importance of thinking of others.