Empathy is not something you're born with, it's something you learn. And your kids will probably learn it best from you! Today's task is to try to put yourself in their shoes -- and start teaching them how to put themselves in yours!
Research has shown that kids of empathetic parents are calmer, excel academically, have good social skills, and are better equipped to manage their own difficult emotions. Be sure to:
- Acknowledge their feelings without arguing or judging, whether you agree or disagree.
- Always keep in mind when talking with your kids that what feels really important to them probably barely registers on the importance scale for you (but maybe you remember feeling the same way when you were younger!).
- Forgive their mistakes, and teach them how to make amends, don't just yell or punish.
- Tell them how much you love them and how proud you are often.
- Teach -- and live by -- the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Your kids will see the way you treat them and will learn to treat others the same way.
Is it easy or hard for you to put yourself in your kids' shoes? How do you practice and teach empathy with your children?