When you think about the most important skills to teach your kids, what comes to mind At the top of my list are the four C s – critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. While many of our amazing schools prioritize teaching these skills to our kids, so much of what they need to learn in these areas can and should come from us, their parents. Yet, many of us just don't know where to start.
Turns out, there s a process that can help us figure this out. To create a home life where everyone feels safe enough to explore. To help us respond thoughtfully to our kids questions and needs, rather than react without thought. To have meaningful conversations with our teen about things that matter.
Well, empathy is about stepping into the shoes of other people, understanding their feelings and perspectives, and using that understanding to guide our actions. It's different from expressions of sympathy – like pity or feeling sorry for somebody – because these don't involve our trying to understand the other person’s emotions or point of view.
Sometimes, empathy is misunderstood as the golden rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The reason this isn t quite right is that the golden rule assumes that the person you are trying to empathize with would want you to do for them what you would want done for you it assumes that your interests coincide with theirs.
What empathy really is is more like the platinum rule do unto others as they would have you do unto them. The platinum rule asks us to resist the temptation of projecting our own experiences, views or needs onto others, and to understand them and their needs well enough to do what they want from us, and not just do what we would want from them.
And guess what Your kids can do this with you and one another, too. Children as young as two or three have the ability to put themselves in someone else s shoes, meaning they can practice (cognitive) empathy. This also means that they can practice the platinum rule alongside you. For example, when my son used to see his big sister crying or sad, he d offer her his paci, since that s what made him feel better. As he got older, however, and he saw she was sad, he d go and find her lovie going from the golden rule to the platinum rule understanding that what she needed from him was what made her feel better, not what made him feel better.
Empathy is all about tuning in with yourself and your kids. It's about thoughtful reflection, deep understanding and careful listening all of which are super important when you re having conversations with your kids about the things that matter most.
Alison Trachtman Hill?? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????? www.ci4y.com.