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Are we born with empathy or can you teach it?

I feel empathy is so important.
my brother and I have always been extremely empathedic, ever since we were little.
i'm wondering if people are kind of just born that way, like its part of their personality or is it ALL teachable. i know some of it is teachable, like you teach your kids about feelings etc.

what do you think? and what is the best way to teach it, in your opinion.

thanks ladies c:

Answer Question
 
ElsaSalsaaa

Asked by ElsaSalsaaa at 4:56 PM on Mar. 31, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 20 (9,139 Credits)
Answers (5)
  • i think it is for girls. Guys have to learn it most times
    butterflyblue19

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 4:58 PM on Mar. 31, 2011

  • Theoretically, empathy is best developed through a "secure" attachment to the primary caregiver from birth to age 4 or 5. Usually, when there is an adult who is truly lacking empathy, such as a sociopath, it can be traced to abuse or neglect as an infant or toddler.

    So, it is not really taught, it is nurtured.

    What IS taught is what we can DO with our empathy . .. such a donate, volunteer, help, support, etc.
    ImaginationMama

    Answer by ImaginationMama at 4:59 PM on Mar. 31, 2011

  • Well, I think its developed during life especially for people that have experienced a lot of hardships. However, I think empathy can be taught to be brought out of a person, but if you don't have it you don't have it. I really hope that made sense lol.
    Namaste17

    Answer by Namaste17 at 5:04 PM on Mar. 31, 2011

  • Also, empathy is different from sympathy. Most people can have sympathy but empathy is when you feel as if you ARE the person going through the experience. It's not just a feeling, it's a totally different perspective. Some people don't posses the ability to see things from another perspective.
    Namaste17

    Answer by Namaste17 at 5:11 PM on Mar. 31, 2011

  • Empathy is a part of emotional development so it is not taught so much as picked up on and developed over time. Like how social behavior is picked up and developed. They start with parralel play and eventually learn to take turn and play as a group. Empathy in some cases *can* be taught to those, like my son, who have a diagnosis that makes the concept very hard to grasp. WE teach through practice conversations and pointing it out to him when we see it.
    But_Mommie

    Answer by But_Mommie at 6:08 PM on Mar. 31, 2011

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