How to Raise an Empathic, Caring Kid

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Registered: 02-21-2003
How to Raise an Empathic, Caring Kid
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Fri, 05-28-2010 - 3:28pm

How to Raise an Empathic, Caring Kid--It's Harder Than it Used to Be


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Registered: 01-15-2006
Fri, 05-28-2010 - 5:07pm

so very interesting, wow.

 

Avatar for rollmops2009
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Registered: 02-24-2009
Fri, 05-28-2010 - 6:40pm
I have had many problems and challenges with my kid, but I am happy to say this is not one of them. If anything her empathy can be too much at times. Just today she came home heartbroken from a friend's house, because she learned that her friend's mother has a genetic disease that is slowly causing the bones to atrophy and twist.

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Erica Jong

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Registered: 06-24-2008
Fri, 05-28-2010 - 7:38pm

I think there is a contradiction in that article. At first she says she was irked about her sons behavior and was trying to convince him his fit was a problem, that he should want the playdate to go well more than want to play the Wii. Then later she mentions the importance of acknowledging and responding with warmth to a child's feelings, and getting a child to express his emotions freely as an important way to model and teach empathy. I wonder if she considered those points next time her son has a feeling she doesn't like.

Overall I guess I can see that maybe kids today are less empathetic, but I don't think that means they are doomed to stay that way. I think it could be that childhood is extending a bit. So I think it was more likely to be self-supporting by age 18 or 22 back when I was I was growing up, and now kids might be not be self-supporting until 22-24 on average. Not across the board but in general, I think the average age of self-sufficiency is getting later. We see this in child support laws, where divorced parents are being made to support their children until well into their 20s in some states, health insurance is being extended to cover adult children, and we are marrying and having children later too. So if we compared the 22 yo of the 1980s with the 25 yo today, would they have similar empathy? Is it developmental, in that we outgrow our childhood self-centeredness or if you lack empathy when you get to college is that it, you saw too many video games so you are doomed? I vote it's developmental, and the developmental timeline has shifted.

Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.' -Kahlil Gibran



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Ten Rules for Being Human


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"The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding."
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Registered: 01-15-2006
Sun, 05-30-2010 - 8:37am

how is the link a contradiction?

 

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Registered: 06-24-2008
Sun, 05-30-2010 - 9:20am
i don't think throwing a fit is a feeling that should be coddled or shown empathy to if that's what your'e referencing.



I don't think anyone suggested a fit should be coddled. The advice the author is giving says to acknowledge and respond with warmth to your child's feelings. However, in her description the author is "irked more than usual" by her child's feelings. It also says to get your child talking about their feelings. This need not happen in mid fit, but can happen later. The author does not describe how she later got the child talking about his negative feelings and the bad experience. She seems to suggest her child is one of the less empathetic children of today, because of his fit. I didn't see where the article linked little kids throwing fits with being less empathetic, in fact 7 yo are generally pretty self centered, it's developmentally appropriate. The study was about young adults, and the goal would be to teach little children empathy so by the time they are grown they have it, not so you can get little kids to be empathetic when things aren't going their way on a playdate. The fit was a chance to be empathetic, thereby modeling it for her child (could be after the fit). Instead, she writes an article painting her son in a bad light and is seemingly still irked about his behavior, and asks readers if their own kids are empathetic enough. I think she's missing the boat here, skipping over a teaching opportunity thinking she is already supposed to be near the finish line.

Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.' -Kahlil Gibran



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Ten Rules for Being Human


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"The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding."
Malcolm Gladwell Blink

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Registered: 04-22-2005
Sun, 05-30-2010 - 11:42am
Just because she was feeling irked doesn't mean she didn't acknowledge his feelings, respond with warmth and then later discuss it further with him. We aren't given more information about her and her son because the article isn't about them. It's about empathy. The brief mention of the playdate was just an opening to the topic. She could have just started the article with "I had just read a new study...", but that's boring. It lacks a hook. The way that she opens it is better writing. Likewise, ending with the question "Do you think your kids are empathetic enough?" is better writing than the ambiguous and over-used "What do YOU think?"











iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2006
Sun, 05-30-2010 - 1:01pm

The fit was a chance to be empathetic, thereby modeling it for her child (could be after the fit). Instead, she writes an article painting her son in a bad light and is seemingly still irked about his behavior, and asks readers if their own kids are empathetic enough. I think she's missing the boat here, skipping over a teaching opportunity thinking she is already supposed to be near the finish line.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
Sun, 05-30-2010 - 3:50pm
the begining of the link was just a prelude to the study to me, like a gee, could my child's fit be an example of this lack of empathy.



Right. Which she kind of leaves open as a suggestion, that maybe her 7 yo is not empathetic enough, without ever saying he's developmental appropriate or inappropriate for his age at other times. It could lead a reader to surmise a 7 yo throwing a fit is a bad sign, when all by itself it means nothing. Children who have empathy will still have fits. Her 7 yo's behavior is not indicative of a less empathetic present or future unless he can't manage playdates or working/playing with peers in general, or his ability to navigate peer relationships is seriously impaired, which you can't tell from one bad playdate experience. Maybe he was tired that day, or just had a bad day like we all do sometimes.



Actually, the more I look at it the more irked I am at the author. She titles her piece "It's Harder Than it Used to Be." Nowhere in the study does it say that, and she does not support that from other sources. The study says rates of empathy are declining among college students, period. There is some speculation by the researchers as to why that is, but reasons did not come out of the research, at all, they are just possibilities, guesses.



Then she gives what she says is advice from the Center for Child Well-Being, which somewhat mimics what the Center has on their website, found here: Building Empathy and Sympathy, except for one notable extra bullet. Her last point about Wii and other video games is not mentioned on the Center for Child Well-Being page about building empathy, or anywhere in the section on empathy, and it doesn't come up in a search as a point that can be attributed to them. If she didn't get it from their website, where did she get it from and why didn't she link to her resource for it? I wonder.



From the article:



Here’s some advice from the Center for Child Well-Being:



Role-model compassion. Pay attention to your child’s feelings, acknowledge them and respond with warmth. You may want to test your own level of empathy here.



Talk about your feelings and those of others. And ask your child to talk about his or her feelings when something good or bad happens. Children who express their emotions freely and easily tend to be more empathic.



Try some “feelings” activities, like picking a feeling—a happy moment, an embarrassing one, a sad one—and ask each family member to discuss it. Or observe people and “guess” what their feelings might be.



When your child misbehaves, call attention to how it affects another person’s feelings. Ask the child how you think the other person (probably you) feels and what it would feel like to be in your shoes.



Praise your child like crazy when he is empathic.



Keep violent Wii games and other video games to a bare minimum.



From the Center for Child Well-Being website:



There are many things parents can do to help children become more empathic and sympathetic.


Be empathic yourself. Pay attention to your child's feelings. Acknowledge your child's emotions, listen to the situations that cause them, and respond with care. Be sure not to dismiss emotions by saying, "that's nothing to get upset about."



Talk about feelings. Children mimic what they see and hear. Parents who talk about feelings-both their own and others'-openly and regularly will influence their children to do the same. Take opportunities to point out your own feelings, the feelings of others, and how children can choose to respond in different ways.



Ask questions about feelings. This will help your child think about her own emotions as well as the way other people feel. For example, if your child has a bad dream, ask her to tell you how it made her feel, or if she says something mean to a friend or classmate, ask her to think how she would have felt if she had been treated this way.



Label emotions. This not only validates the emotion, but it helps your child develop a vocabulary for expressing feelings. This will help your child recognize emotions in herself and in others, and she will be able to name them. Saying things like "I'm happy because the sun is out", "I'm sad that Grandma is sick", and "I get frustrated when you cry but won't tell me what is wrong" are all ways to teach children to identify and express emotions with words.



Read nonverbal cues. Reading body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice is important, too. Point these out to your child.

Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.' -Kahlil Gibran



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Ten Rules for Being Human


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"The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding."
Malcolm Gladwell Blink

Avatar for rollmops2009
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Registered: 02-24-2009
Sun, 05-30-2010 - 4:03pm
I agree with you. The article is dim-witted and incoherent. The video game thing is mentioned in the study, but it is pure hypothesis.

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If you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
Erica Jong

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Registered: 03-19-2010
Sun, 05-30-2010 - 4:06pm
My children are far more empathic than I am. (For some reason that word sounds wrong.) I realize that anecdotes don't mean much, but I think it's personality driven.

"It is said that men may not be the dreams of the Gods, but rather that the Gods are the dreams of men."


-Carl Sagan

"It is said that men may not be the dreams of the Gods, but rather that the Gods are the dreams of men."


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