Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and understand their point of view, come to understand how they feel, their emotions, and thoughts. It arises naturally in the human being from childhood, and it is at that stage of life when it is most susceptible to being educated. The main thing is to have empathetic adults at various levels to model this ability in children.
Let’s see examples:
- I see that you are very sad (describe the situation, without judgment).
- I see that you are very sad because the ball burst. (add the reason or cause of that emotion, according to us).
- I see that you are very sad because the ball burst and I would feel that way too. (include myself as an adult, so that they can connect from their world).
The empathic person is more aware and flexible, since they also value the perception of others. A child whose parents and teachers encourage (through modeling) their empathy from an early age is on the path of becoming more sensitive and understanding adults.
Modeling empathy with children on a daily basis is an exercise in marvelous respect, it is entering their world, their thoughts, their decisions; and think about how I would do it at that age and under those circumstances.
Empathy exercise with a child:
- Describe what bothers you most about your child’s behavior.
- Now enter their world; What they are thinking, feeling and deciding from their reality?
- Reflect: what do they feel from their private reality or logic?