It's no secret that children pay more attention to what you do than to what you say. They are often a reflection of what you put out into the world and how you treat others. So if you want your children to show more compassion and empathy toward others, you have to set the right example. Here are four ways you can model the right behavior and set an example for your child to follow when it comes to being empathetic.
Empathize with Them
Teaching empathy starts with the way you treat your child. Are you empathetic, patient, and kind with them? Show an interest in their lives and allow them to talk about their emotions. Show them that they and their opinions are valued. When they get hurt or experience strong emotions, show them and tell them that you understand what they're going through. Don't simply cut them off when they are angry or not listening. Get down on their level and really try to understand the situation.
Care for Others
Your child will strive to mimic you, so you should always be kind and empathetic in your dealings with others. Put other people before yourself, try to understand their feelings, and perform small acts of kindness daily. You won't have to say a word to your child. They will emulate your actions on their own. If you see them treating someone unfairly, you must first ask yourself if you have modeled the behavior that they're displaying.
Emotions are difficult for adults to deal with, but children have an even more difficult time with their emotions. If your child is emotional, sit down and talk them through their emotions. Help them understand what they are feeling and teach them how to react. If you're having a hard time teaching your child to manage their emotions, you might also want to think about placing them in behavioral therapy, such as therapy through BEHAVIOR CHANGE SUCCESS CORP.
Let Them Practice
As with everything else, practice makes perfect when it comes to empathy. Give your child lots of practice by encouraging them to participate in and work through situations that arise. For example, if another child gets hurt on the playground, use the situation as an opportunity to teach your child how to respond.
Be sure that you're doing all you can to instill values in your child that will make them an empathetic person.