< 1 min read
Some of our kids seem to naturally be more compassionate than others.
How do we promote a more compassionate and empathetic personality for those who do not seem to care much about others?
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In the early years when children are learning to socialise and 'hold others in mind', they need to themselves experience being 'held' in mind by a trusted adult. Young children also need to have the experience of an empathic adult regularly in order to develop empathy for others. So yes, there is an innate quality to empathy but research also says that we can learn empathy and self reflection given the right environmental settings across home, school and other areas.
Being sensitive to the of others cannot really be taught as if it was a math or science concept that depend on theories before application. Being compassionate and emphatic is something innate. We really cannot teach to become something which we are not. For me, teaching values depended on what we show our kids. We cannot expect them to be comppasionate and emphatic if they see that we are not.
Setting a good example and showing them that we have the same values can lead them to being one. Instead of telling them to become something, let us show them that we can be anything we ask to be.
One of the first numeracy skills that we teach young children is 'noticing'. Being skilled at noticing is wonderful for learning but also for becoming attuned to others emotions and feelings. In preschool, we teach this by modelling and noticing and naming emotions, for example, 'Sam has his arms folded and looks cross, I think he might be feeling angry because he didn't get to toy he wanted. Are you feeling angry right now Sam?'. It sounds so simple but this is a great strategy for teaching emotional intelligence and this can begin with babies and carry through to school.