Research shows that all babies are born with the ability to be empathetic, though this capability varies from one child to another as they grow. Parenting experts say that it is imperative to include empathy as part of discipline.
At age two to three a child already has the ability to identify and understand another’s beliefs and situation. Come age four to five, they can already understand the reasons for others’ opinions.
Bringing up empathetic kids is a challenging task, in order for empathy to do well and flourish parents must nurture its growth. Teach children to put words into their emotion like helping them choose and find the right words to express their feelings will let them help comprehend the notions of others.
We parents must bear in mind that in order to establish and maintain empathy in our children, we should respect their individuality by setting a good example for how to indicate sympathy and concern. We can develop their potential to be empathetic by pointing out and explaining the impact of their inappropriate behavior on others. Demonstrate that you care about his feelings too but explain carefully in details how his misbehavior affects the feelings and emotions of others. Controlling children’s misbehavior with anger like shouting or spanking decreases their ability to be empathetic which the consequence is we let them to do without considering another’s person’s feelings.
Start by sharing thoughts and situations in the family like for instance - how your youngster will be affected if one of his siblings took his favorite book or toy without asking permission. Conversations about how a family member or friends are affected by a problem or situation by not taking sides at once as we should consider the feelings of the perpetrator too. In this way we can help them analyze what the aggrieved person is going through and think of solutions on how to help.
Patience and continuous guidance are a great way to influence their behavior. After all we adults are not perfectly empathetic at all times, just be the best model as you can. Pay attention and support when your kids are reacting out of empathy. Kids will slowly learn how to reach out to help, change their behavior out of concern to another.