Helping Kids Engage in Difficult Conversations

November 10, 2018

Quote of the Week

"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." --Stephen Covey

What A Middle School Pen Pal Program Taught Me About Difficult Conversations

We are living in times marked by division and polarization. People are taking sides, and hate is spreading. How can we listen to each other? How can we find empathy and show respect for those with whom we disagree? In this week's featured article, middle school teacher Cheryl Epstein shares an eye-opening lesson in empathy she learned with her students. She purposely set out to find a school where the majority of students came from backgrounds divergent from those in her school. Their letters shared much of common humanity: love and loss, struggles and achievements, happiness and sorrow. And then she asked them to engage respectfully on the issues about which they disagreed, and things got interesting. [read more]

Reading Corner

Title: Learning to Listen, Learning to Care: A Workbook to Help Kids Learn Self Control and Empathy
By: Lawrence E. Shapiro, PhD
Ages: 6-12

Why? "When it comes to teaching kids to behave well, the "why" is as important as the "how." In Learning to Listen, Learning to Care, children learn why it is important to follow rules and behave considerately toward others. This cultivates empathy, which contributes not just to good behavior, but to academic and social success. By working through the fun and engaging exercises in this book, kids learn how to recognize the impact of their behavior on others, express emotion in appropriate ways, and compromise with family and friends." -- Publisher

Be the Change

Practice empathic listening with your child. Model listening to understand rather than rushing to tell your child your point of view.