An empathetic child will make more friends and have a happier, more meaningful childhood. Here’s how you can help your child be more empathetic.
1. Teach your child perspective
Children may hurt each other by accident when they’re playing. There may be times when another child hurts your child. When this happens, remind your child of a time when they accidentally hurt someone else and how that child did not cry and was not angry with them. Just like they were forgiven when they made a mistake, they should now forgive the child who also made a mistake. This teaches your child to put themselves in another child’s position, building up their ability to empathise with others. If your child understands that everyone makes mistakes sometimes, they will learn to forgive others and themselves. As your child learns to let go of anger, resentment and guilt, they will grow to be happier and more open.
2. Let your child resolve problems on their own
It is common to see children having small fights and arguments among themselves. If your child has a disagreement with another child, it’s only natural to want to step in and ‘help’. But you should take a step back and silently observe how your child handles the situation. This way, you are giving your child an opportunity to grow and learn how to manage conflicts. If the other child didn’t mean any harm, encourage your child to forgive him and build trust and friendship between them. While managing his own small dispute, your child starts to think from someone else’s perspective and learns to empathise. They also learn how to resolve problems by themselves.
3. Show your child it’s okay to make mistakes
Help your child to understand that mistakes can be forgiven by forgiving them when they make small mistakes.
The ‘1-minute lecture’ method is a good way to deal with your child when they make a mistake. Use one minute to solve the problem, focusing only on the issue and not the person. Be mindful of your child’s self-esteem and refrain from reprimanding them in public or constantly picking on their past mistakes.
In addition, you should be less critical and avoid finding faults in others. Praise and express gratitude towards others instead, so that your child can understand that everyone has their own strengths.