Step 9 of 10 Steps that Help Prepare your Children for Success – Step Nine is Teach your Child Empathy

Posted: April 9, 2015 in Uncategorized
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If you would like more info on how you can help your child develop positively and thrive, contact the Boca Raton Karate & Kickboxing Academy @ 561-926-1846 or www.brkka.com.

Empathy is a tricky skill set.  We all have different levels of empathy for different reasons. In order to understand another person’s perspective and emotional reactions, we have to understand our own thoughts, values and feelings and also be able to know the difference.  It requires self-awareness and the ability to temper one’s own response in certain situations.  And you have to care about others in order to truly want to understand and practice genuine empathy.  All very worthwhile traits that take practice.  Teaching kids these skills are paramount and with time and effort strong empathetic skills can be learned.

A great start is to have a secure and safe environment at home.  Kids that are confident their needs will be met are more likely to want to help and understand the needs of others.  Teach your child how to handle negative emotions and solve their issues without lashing out.  Behavior is greatly influenced by emotions and feelings.  Explain the connection so your kids understand how emotions lead to actions.

Model empathy whenever possible – discuss the feelings of others in everyday situations, in stories or on TV.  Help your child find commonality with others so they can relate.  Another suggestion is to take advantage of emotional moments to practice empathetic skills…. it’s hard to empathize with hunger and world starvation when you are full.  But when kids are hungry, it’s a great time to discuss how starving people all over the world must feel all.

Young kids learn about reading emotions through visual input- watching expressions of others. It has been proven that by imitating a facial expression, the actual emotions can follow – changes in brain activity, heart rate, temperature, etc..   Imitating facial expressions can be a great tool for building and understanding the power of empathy.

Help you kids develop a sense of morality that stems from values – not material rewards.  Empathy comes from a genuine place of sincere feelings.  It is not self-serving or developed through bribes.  Good people can be persuaded to do bad things.  Teach your kids about morality and staying true to what they know is right versus wrong.

Inspire your children by showing emotions, and practicing empathy with them as well as others.  It’s well worth the effort and will help them in future relationships for the rest of their lives.

If you would like more info on how you can help your child develop positively and thrive, contact the Boca Raton Karate & Kickboxing Academy or call 561-926-1846

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