What Is Empathy? Many people confuse sympathy and empathy, but they are two distinct values.
Empathy is one of those strange qualities – something almost everyone wants, but few know how to truly give or receive it. In a world where self-gratification is emphasized, it is in short supply but high demand. This is all the more reason to teach the next generation what it means to have empathy for those around them.
What Is Empathy? Many people confuse sympathy and empathy, but they are two distinct values. Empathy is not just the ability to understand someone’s feelings; criminals often take advantage of people by appearing to understand their feelings and subsequently gaining their trust. Empathy is more than that. Not only is it the ability to recognize how someone feels, but it also values and respects the feelings of another person. It means treating others with kindness, dignity, and understanding.
Kids Need To See Adults Show Empathy--- While some children are gifted with naturally kind hearts, in most cases kids need to see empathy modeled by the adults around them. It begins with the way parents relate to their children. Parents who show an interest in the things that matter to their kids and respond to emotions in a positive and caring way are teaching the skill of empathy.
Meet Emotional Needs---When children have their emotional needs met, two things happen. They learn how to meet the emotional needs of others and they are anchored in what they are receiving, meaning that they are secure enough to give to others when the need arises but first they need to receive. An empty jug cannot fill a cup.
Talk To Kids About Emotional Needs---Many adults find it hard to talk about emotional needs or anything related to emotions. Consequently, they spend their lives tiptoeing around the subject of emotions. These are people who don’t know how to handle the emotions of others and are uncomfortable with any situation that calls for an emotional response. Sometimes they are afraid of their own emotions because they have never learned how to deal with emotional needs.
It’s a good idea to talk to kids about emotions and how other people experience them. Give their emotions names (for example, jealousy, anger, and love) and teach them that these are normal. Talk to them about how to handle emotions in a positive way and point out situations where other people are experiencing emotions. Teach them about respecting the emotions of others and show them how to act in a situation where a response is required.