Humans are social animals and at some point in a child’s life, parents are going to have to start teaching them to respect other’s feelings. Failing to do so can cause them to become an arrogant, rude and difficult person that no one wants to be around.

Babies and toddlers aren’t capable of grasping the concept of empathy but a few years down the line they’ll surprise you with how caring they can be.

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Child development experts claim that the earlier parents start teaching their children about empathy, the more compassionate they will be when they’re older. The importance of consistently modeling caring behavior cannot be emphasized enough.

An empathetic child will become a naturally warm and loving individual that puts aside differences and befriends other. They’re more open to sharing and helping those in need.

Here are a few ways you can raise your child to be an empathetic individual:

Address Your Child’s Needs

Young children have specific needs. Expect them to get cranky when they’re hungry and tired.

If your child’s throwing tantrums because they are late for naptime, instead of ignoring it and responding with anger, show them that you care. Tell them something along the lines of “I know you’re tired, just give me a few more minutes and we can leave for home.”

This way your child knows that you’re aware of their feelings and is more willing to accommodate you.

Train Them to be Emotionally Aware

Picture showing therapist in mississippiChildren don’t pick up on tone, body language, facial expressions and other cues people use to convey their feelings. They need to be trained to think about how those around them are feeling emotionally.

As parents, when you notice someone around your child feeling happy or sad, comment on it. By bringing it to your child’s attention, you’re prompting them to think about it.

Overtime it will come more naturally to them.

Teach Them to Pick Up on Verbal/Non-Verbal Cues

Adults don’t always pick up on verbal/non-verbal cues; it’s that much harder for children.  The next time your child has hurt their sibling or made you angry, point it out to them.

Ask them to focus on the language being used, the tone, expressions, etc. to decipher how they made others feel.

Encourage Inclusion

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There’s always at least one kid in school or the playground that sits on their own. If you spot them, encourage your child to go over there and play with them.

Once again, bring to their attention how the lonely child may be feeling and that your child may be able to make them happy.

In these formative years, parents need to persistently train their kids to be more conscious of those around them. Only then will they grow up to be compassionate individuals.

If you’re a first-time parent looking to raise emotionally attentive kids, be sure to check out David Myers’ book, Heartful Parenting.

Heartful Parenting is packed with valuable advice on building a positive relationship with your children. It seeks to eliminate negative behaviors and replace them with traits that are beneficial in the long-run.

Myers’ is a qualified psychotherapist who provides psychotherapy, psychodynamic therapy and relationship counseling to the residents of Birmingham, Alabama and nearby communities.

Call (205) 251-8808 or email to book an appointment.

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