How to Teach Your Child Empathy
Azine Graff, PsyD
I clearly remember listening to my then 2-year-old daughter as she was comforting her doll. She
sounded out the cries of her doll and followed it with, “I got you. You’re safe.”
My heart was melting as she gave her doll the same care I gave her when she would cry from a scraped knee or when feeling frightened. I realize now that this is a form of empathy, as she was empathizing with her “crying” baby and using what had comforted her when she had cried.
As parents we often get caught up with academics—feeling that children must learn how to read early on and solve math problems to succeed—but we forget about the life skills that are needed and not learned in a school book.
Empathy is one of them. Some might think that an empathic child would just be a sensitive child wearing their heart on their sleeve.
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