I RESPECT OTHERS – these words are found on H.E.A.R. commitment banners signed by students in classrooms across the nation. Respect and empathy go hand in hand. Treating others with respect involves not only recognizing and identifying with the feelings of others but also having a sense of care and responsibility that extends beyond yourself. In a recent article in The Washington Post, Richard Weissbourd, co-author of H.E.A.R. and co-director of Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Making Caring Common Project, provides tips for teaching kids to be more empathetic. These include:
- Model kindness to everyone, regardless of status.
- Self-awareness is important, but help children focus on understanding the feelings of others.
- Avoid giving kids too much praise. Dr. Weissbourd explains, “When children are praised all the time, they feel judged all the time.”
- Emphasize happiness of others over self-happiness. For example, instead of ignoring a classmate’s accomplishment, encourage your child to give credit where credit is due. 5. Show concern for all children, not just your own.
You can also take Dr. Weissbourd’s quiz to find out what kind of parent you are in light of teaching empathy to your children.
The complete article, written by Amy Joyce, can be found at: