Emotional Intelligence Skills - Empathy
Empathy is the ability to notice and understand how another person is feeling and then respond in an appropriate way. If your children are empathetic, they are more likely to be seen as good friends by their peers.
Empathy is an important part of Emotional Intelligence. Children need to be able to notice and understand how they feel before they can really notice and understand how others feel.
Why Should Parents Teach Children Empathy?
Children who are either naturally empathetic or who have been taught the importance of this social skill are usually less aggressive, help others more often and share well; these children tend to be well-liked and good at forming strong relationships.
If your child is good at noticing how another person is feeling, they are more likely to be good at helping and sharing, both important social skills. Lack of empathy has been shown to be linked to aggressive anti-social behaviour.
Parents play an important role in teaching their children to use the skill of empathy because their own behaviour and conversations guide children on:
- how to express emotion;
- when to express emotion; and
- how to interpret other people’s emotional reactions.
How Can Parents Teach Empathy?
Look out for more articles on this topic. A good start is to use books to talk to your child about the feelings of the characters. Parental empathy is very important too. Read the interviews with Dr Sophie Havighurst about Tuning Into Kids - Part 1 and Part 2.