Parents Can Teach Kids Empathy & Avoid Future Wounds

 

Parents- Promote Empathy .Have brother’s and sister’s walk in another sibling’s shoes. As Atticus said in To Kill a Mockingbird, you never know another human being until you walk in his shoes. Teach siblings how their behavior affects other siblings to avoid catastrophes in the future.

A step child can often feel like a modern day Cinderella, and see her  stepsister  or who could be the full blood child , like  Drusilla , her evil stepsister.  Blood children can hurt each others feeling or actually hit and smack.

Parenting your children so that they are sensitive to each other’s point of view is important for exposing sibling issues and diffusing blame and hurt that can turn into sibling wounds, then scars, then sibling “I Hate You” stories. Family meetings, spending one-on-one time with each child, emphasizing each child’s self-worth can give each sibling a forum and a reason to be sympathetic and empathetic to the others and avoid sibling wars now and in the future.

Empathy can be taught by parents by using some mom or dad tools. First attempt to have a child describe his or her own feelings. When you have two siblings that have had a spat, help them tell you how they are feeling—not what the other brother or sister made them feel. This matches “I” words with feelings. “I feel mad or happy or sad”—not “the way my brother took the toys away from me made me feel mad.” We are feeling empathy as a parent by assisting the siblings in putting their extreme reactions and feelings into words.

Model empathy. When a child makes a mistakes like breaking a plate, provide emotional sustenance as parents by not blaming but offering understanding that accidents can happen. Treat pets kindly and with affection to teach how kindness counts in all people’s and animals’ lives.

Assist siblings in reading facial expressions and body language. When children are young and you as a parents read books your kids, point to the facial expressions and signal emotion like kindness or anger. Reinforce kindness and explain how our actions sometimes bring on anger and how we can understand it and dispel it in others like siblings.

Talk about how people’s action can elicit feelings in others—perhaps something like “Your brother looked so happy when you let him play with your fireman Playmobile. Did you notice his large smile?”

Practice empathy with your family at home.

“Nod is meowing and brushing on your leg. Do you think you could give him several pets?” “Your sister is having a hard time opening that jar and her face looks unhappy. Do you think you might help her unscrew it?” “Grandpa is having a hard time getting those birthday boxes out to his car. Could you carry some out or him? That would be so kind of you.”Pare

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About momlovesyoubest

Cathy Cress holds an MSW in Aging from U.C. Berkeley. Her new book Mom Loves You Best, Forgiving and Forging Sibling Relationships , New Horizon Press, was published October 2010. Cress’s book , Handbook of Geriatric Care Management, Jones and Bartlett, is the bible of geriatric care management and is out out in a third edition in February 2011 .Her book Care Managers, Working With the Aging Family, Jones and Bartlett,2008 is one of the few major books on the aging family. Ms. Cress is the founder of GCM Consult ,working with small and national who want to add or launch GCM businesses. She is on the faculty at the University of Florida in their on line master’s in geriatric care management -GCM . She has taught geriatric care management at San Francisco State University , UC Berkeley and teaches at Cabrillo College and San Mateo College. She was founder and director of Cresscare, a GCM business, for 25 years.
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