Creating an Empathetic Family Culture

February 07, 2015

Quote of the Week

"In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony." -- Eva Burrows

Creating An Empathetic Family Culture

"Empathy is at the heart of a great family culture. It’s noticing how another person is feeling, and for a moment standing in their shoes. It opens the door to understanding others, appreciating differences, noticing and caring. It is the antithesis of self-serving, whiny, and narcissistic behaviors. Daniel Goleman calls empathy “the foundation of all emotional intelligence.”

Optimally, we help our children learn to focus, persist, delay gratification and self-calm in the first several years of life. With the capacity for self-regulation in place, empathy begins to blossom. By helping children learn empathy, we raise the odds they will have strong positive social relationships, truly care for others, and be able to set appropriate limits in their own lives without using angry behaviors or words." In this article, Bob Sornson, Ph.D., a former teacher and school administrator for more than 30 years and bestselling author, shares practical tips on how we can develop an empathetic family culture in our homes. [read more]

Reading Corner

Title: Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad
By: Jacky Davis
Ages: 3-8

"I got this book for our 3-year-old when she started at a new school, as I thought it could help her to learn how to empathise and care for others as she formed new friendships -- and this book was perfect! It's a lovely story about the friendship between four children and how they learn to stand in each other's shoes in the different circumstances they face as the story moves along. Unlike many books that try to "teach" things like empathy and compassion, the fact that this book has a very real-life storyline that children can relate to makes it that much more accessible for them. My daughter loves it and really feels for each character in the book through the scenarios they experience."

Be the Change

Modeling empathy is the best way for our children to learn. The next time your child has a meltdown or gets frustrated, before you react, consciously stop and take a moment to view the situation from his/her perspective. Acknowledge how the child might be feeling -- for children, even what we perceive to be little matters, may be a really big deal in their worlds. After pausing to empathize, then speak to them about the source of their problem and come up with a positive way forward together.