We live in a selfish world where everyone is all for themselves, if someone has an accident and dies, all people will say is “Thank God I’m alive!” That’s all, life goes on! Teaching your kid to empathise and have pity is one of the important things you can give to your child. If we fail to do this, we have failed as parents and as a society. The reason why the world is the way it is is because most people are selfish and are always after “me, me, me”.
Don’t blame the selfish child, blame their parents! If only parents would start encouraging their kids to be empathetic, there’s still hope that they’d grow up to be considerate of other people’s feeling in whatever they do.
Here are 6 steps to teaching your children to be empathic;
1. Reading emotions
Your kids need to be taught how to read emotions through facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. Talk to them about how they feel often “you look sad, are you okay?” “Look at me, I’m serious” when talking to them are ways to make them pay attention to not just your voice but your body language too. To do this;
- When talking to your child on phone, use, IMO, Skype or other video apps so that you can watch their body language because faces and body language are part of the conversation.
- While watching movies, mute the sound and ask your kids about emotions Nemo is feeling when he’s reunited with his dad. Or the old man from Up is feeling when his wife dies.
2. Take a breath
Breathing properly can help people calm down and take control of their emotions, get everyone to calm down by practising breathing exercise. While playing a relaxing song, help them breathe in deeply, then exhale even more deeply.
3. Create an anthem
Create a short and catchy family anthem that you will chant as a family from time to time, for example, you or your husband will say “What are we?” and your children will respond “We are a loving family, we are caring, we are helpful and respectful, we always help!” Write this and paste it in strategic places in your home and don’t forget to repeat this in their ears. Give it a name so you can go like “Don’t forget the “good deed” rules!” when they are leaving your roof.
4. Make them read the “right” books
Ensuring your kid reads the right kind of books will help them to be smarter and also nicer, the right kind of books are the ones that’ll stir their emotion, make them pity the character in the book. Meanwhile talk to them about the characters they feel for.
5. Engage in random acts of kindness
Donating something once in a year is not a habit enough, the idea is to let them feel being kind is something you should do every day and without being coerced to do it. Encourage your child to help a kid that trips and fall down, and encourage them to do at least two nice things every day. and it doesn’t have to be great deeds, it could be as simple as saying “good morning” to an elderly person.
6. Expose them
Let your kids meet different people they don’t normally meet every day by going out to underdeveloped countries so they can see how other people live and meet other people who are of different race, religion, and sexuality from them.
7. Show them what a real hero is
Inspire your child to know they can make a difference by putting smiles in people’s face, there are plenty examples of kids who have made a difference by impacting other people’s lives.
Train up your kids to be the kind who wouldn’t see injustice bing done to another person and stand by to look instead of helping out. Let it be known to them that it’s moral courage to stick their neck out for someone.