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Posts Tagged ‘Empathy’

8 Methods to Stop Your Child From Being a Bully

December 31, 2014

 

 

Courtesy of via huffingtonpost.com:

 

1. Your child needs to be aware of others’ inner experiences.
It needs to become second nature to him to think about others and their feelings almost as quickly as he thinks of his own. Many parents validate one child’s perspective, but fail to discuss their own feelings or feelings of another child. Just validating your own child’s feelings does not teach him that there are other people in the world whose feelings matter.

Example of validating your child:

“I see you felt really angry right there when John took your ball.”

Example of teaching empathy:

“I see you felt really angry right there when John took your ball. He looked angry too. I think he thought you were going to play with him, but then you ended up playing alone.”

2. Discuss your own emotions too.
It does children no good to view a parent as having no weaknesses or vulnerable emotions. If they can empathize with you, they will remember this and it will facilitate self-compassion when they are an adult behaving as you do. Here’s an example of that:

“I’m sorry you got upset when Mommy didn’t play with you. Mommy was feeling anxious because she had a lot of cleaning to do before our friends come over. I will play with you now.”

3. Discuss both siblings’ or friends’ emotions after any conflict, validating and empathizing with both sides. Do not only validate the child whose actions you agree with more.
Example: “You were mad that your sister grabbed your doll, and she was feeling sad that you weren’t paying attention to her.  That’s probably why she grabbed it.”  You’re not condoning any behavior, but just giving a value-free description of the emotions underlying each child’s actions.

4. Make sure to speak for those who cannot speak, such as pets or babies.  
“Why is baby crying?  I wonder if he is hungry or tired? What do you think?” And a zero tolerance policy for meanness to those smaller and weaker than yourself.  Horton Hears A Who! by Dr. Seuss is a good book to serve as a springboard for a discussion about why it is important to look out for those smaller than yourself.

5. When you interact with others outside the home, discuss their feelings later together.
“I wonder what Grandma was thinking when she waved bye bye to you. I think she was happy she visited with you, but also a little sad you had to go. What do you think?”

You can also do this with characters in books and on TV.

6. Aim for consistency around the issue of meanness and teasing.
Any name-calling or making fun of others should be nipped in the bud right away.  Bad names and mean words are unacceptable, even from the smallest child. Don’t laugh or roll your eyes when your 3-year-old calls Daddy a poopy head. This just shows her that bad names are okay and even funny. Instead, say something like, “It hurts Daddy’s feelings when you call him a bad name. That is not nice and it’s not okay.”

You and your partner or any other caregiver should get on the same page about “teasing.” Often, one parent thinks that gentle teasing is okay, and a more sensitive parent or child then ends up getting hurt a lot because the less sensitive family members are “just” teasing them multiple times a day. This is especially a salient issue with Highly Sensitive Children.  I recommend that this is discussed openly in a family, e.g. “Mary thinks that you calling her sillyhead isn’t funny, so please don’t say that to her. Joe thinks it’s funny so we can say it to him. Whenever someone says they don’t think teasing is funny, it means we should stop right away.”

7. When children see others who are different from them, e.g. with special needs or birth defects, it is important to discuss that everyone has feelings and wants friends.  
Don’t be content with just telling your kids not to talk meanly or make fun of these children. You should go up and say hello and introduce yourselves.  Read this wonderful article by a mom of a little boy with a craniofacial disorder for more on this.

8. When you are mean, apologize.  
Don’t just feel ashamed and then try to silently make it up to your child or partner later. Own your mean behavior. This is extremely important because you’re modeling taking responsibility for your mean behavior. Children learn from what they see you do much more than from what you tell them to you.

Example: “I’m sorry I grabbed your arm roughly when you pulled the stuff off the shelf in the grocery store. I did it because I was mad. But no matter what I was feeling, grabbing you wasn’t okay.”

 

If I can add to the list I would recommend having your child watch the entire How to UnMake a Bully series. I was fortunate enough to have some involvement in the installment above.

 

Click on the link to read High School Bullying Victim Gets Even! (Video)

Click on the link to read Police Charges for Teen Bullies is More than Appropriate

Click on the link to read African Children Bullied at School Because of Ebola

Click on the link to read Another Vicious Schoolyard Fight Video Emerges

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The Fixation on Bus Monitor’s Donation Earnings is Extremely Disappointing

June 24, 2012

I can’t believe the rhetoric I have read about the money Karen Klein is earning from donations. So what? Generous people were so outraged by what they witnessed on that clip that they donated money. Get over it!

This story was never really about a bus monitor anyway. The. Klein case merely exemplified some very big bullying related issues – namely, the lack of respect many children have for adults, the lack of empathy for a person who is clearly being hurt, the influence of a group in regards to peer pressure and the passive behaviour from bystanders.

I am happy that Ms. Klein’s earnings mean she never has to step foot on that bus with those children again:

An elderly bus monitor who was taunted, picked on and threatened by a quartet of ruthless seventh-graders is likely going to retire on the $586,000 she has so far received in donations from concerned strangers who were outraged after viewing a video that captured her torment.

‘She is definitely surprised and overwhelmed and certainly thankful for everyone’s support, and it is nice knowing she is not alone,’ Karen Huff Klein’s daughter, Amanda Romig, told RadarOnline.com on Friday.

‘We never thought it was going to be that much, she didn’t think that much – then wow!’ Romig added, saying that her 68-year-old mother is not likely to return to work.

Click here on my post which discussed the need to punish the middle school children involved.

I hope the generous people who helped secure this donation together with the many other people who were shocked and angered by the clip, now focus their energies on ensuring that their children never treat people like those middle school children treated Ms. Klein.

Babies Brought into Schools to Teach Kids About Empathy

May 20, 2012

To be able to teach children about empathy one has to get them to understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them. They need to know that everyone has problems, insecurities and sensitivities. Children that struggle to show empathy can get self obsessed and insular.

That’s why I am surprised that some have confused caring for a totally dependant baby, to the understanding that their fellow classmate has problems too. A young baby is simply not threatening. They are cute, fun to play with and a great distraction for any classroom. I don’t understand how caring for a baby has any bearing on a child’s capacity to feel the pain of a classmate:

Babies are set to be brought into primary schools in Cardiff to help improve pupils’ empathy levels and help reduce any bullying and aggression.

The scheme, pioneered in Canada, encourages children to interact in a nurturing manner after observing a parent and baby in the classroom.

Reports suggest children who have taken part are more likely to help others, share, and accept peers as they are.

The programme is being run by the charity Action for Children (AfC).

Around 2,000 school children will take part in Roots of Empathy, as the scheme is known, which will see a local parent and young baby visit their school nine times over the course of a school year.

Debra Ennis, the charity’s children’s services manager, said the project had been running very successfully in Scotland for two years and a Big Lottery Fund grant had enabled them to bring it to Wales.

“We chose Cardiff as we have a really good relationship with the local authority and already run some programmes here.

“The results in Scotland have been amazing. I was a bit sceptical at first – babies going into classrooms – but the turnaround in behaviour in children’s classrooms and drop in anti-social behaviour has been amazing.

I think this program has some value when it comes to fostering maturity and social skills, but I just don’t understand how you can teach empathy for classmates by bringing in babies to the classroom.

 


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