Is Empathy a Gift?
If being “empathetic” doesn’t come naturally to you, you will definitely relate to what I have to say! Using sincere empathy on a consistent basis can be difficult. Right? Think about situations that have required empathy in the past. Times when you needed to be sensitive or needed to relate to your son or daughter’s emotional state or circumstances. Think about how you wish you would have responded.
We have a choice, a head of time, to determine what our reaction is going to be. Do you know what studies have shown? That parents who are successful at being empathetic have one statement, regardless of what consequence, they provide to their children. Preceding a consequence with statements like, “That’s so sad” or “What a bummer” or “Bless your heart” makes you sensitive, yet consistent when relating to disrespectful or disobedient children.
It is important to remember that consequences delivered without empathy create resentment; whereas, if delivered with empathy, a sense of responsibility is accomplished. Empathy preserves a relationship and makes it difficult for children to blame parents for their poor decisions.
Although empathy may seem like a gift some parents are given more than others, it is a skill that each one of us can learn to raise responsible kids rather than resentful ones. So, how do you begin? Try writing down your empathetic statement. Tape it to your bathroom mirror or you car’s dashboard as a frequent reminder to yourself to be empathetic… to raise responsible and respectful children.