Most people will say that one of their goals in life is to make the world a better place. While not every good deed will make the news, they still bring light into the darkness. One of the easiest ways to do good in the world is to teach a child empathy.
By being empathetic, a person can put themselves into someone else’s shoes and understand their feelings and needs. Learning empathy is especially important for young children, given that most have difficulty looking past their own desires at the moment. In addition to helping them in their youth, empathy further helps adults develop meaningful relationships later in life.
The Benefits of Teaching a Child Empathy
In examining reasons to teach a child empathy, psychologists argue that empathetic children possess a number of great qualities. Notably, children who are taught empathy from a young age have greater social skills than kids whose parents did not teach them to be empathetic. These social skills translate into greater success at school by forming stronger bonds with their classmates and teachers. Furthermore, kids who have been taught empathy are more tolerant of others, making them less likely to engage in bullying.
Empathy in adults is also shown to have several benefits. In terms of careers, studies show that adults whose parents taught them to be empathetic from an early age are happier at their jobs and are more likely to occupy leadership positions than those whose parents did not encourage their children to be empathetic. When it comes to personal life, empathetic adults say that they have lower levels of stress and more satisfying relationships than adults who are not empathetic.
How to Teach a Child Empathy
There are many easy ways to teach a child empathy. One of the best ways to teach empathy is to get a pet or even just a houseplant. Taking care of another living thing shows a child the joy that comes from helping something live and thrive. Another way to teach empathy is to talk to kids about what others might be feeling. In addition to learning about emotions, this practice further enables kids to understand multiple perspectives. Reading can also encourage kids to be empathetic. By reading about their favorite characters, kids can learn to understand feelings and see the world through the eyes of another.