I just had an A-HA moment with my Better Half. We were talking about mean-spirited texts and posts that kids can receive. I told her that my parents told me when I was a kid to “Just ignore what people say.” She gave me that look (you know the one) and said, “This isn’t something you can just walk away from. It is always there. And it is there for all the OTHER kids to read.”
As usual, she was right. 🙂 The challenge that kids have today is not the same as my PERSONAL experience, before the Internet. Online bullying is public, 24-7, and often done outside of school, limiting what the schools can do. When I thought outside of my personal experience, I quickly realized that many kids today take an emotional punch whenever they pick up their phone!
Today, I’d like to offer some thoughts on EMPATHY. We talk a lot in our classes about that, as it relates to our 1st Tenet of Courtesy. It is okay to disagree. It is okay not to be BFF with everyone you meet. But we must remember that other people may have REAL problems. Consider that before you speak, text, or post.
Mask wearing and social distancing have limited children’s ability to read other people’s expressions, and that has led to a disconnect towards other people’s feelings. This is directly related to children sharing less in social situations, which is more common now than before the pandemic. With that said, teaching children the skill of EMPATHY will help them build stronger relationships with others.
Here is a guideline on ways children can build EMPATHY: ~Teach them to be thoughtful of others’ emotions. ~Teach them to put themselves in other people’s shoes. ~Teach them to help others when they need it.
There are many ways that you can teach children EMPATHY and by doing so you can make a big difference in what children feel, read, and hear. This is one of the toughest skills to build because it takes time and willingness to grow. At the same time, EMPATHY is the key ingredient in positive friendships and relationships, two areas that many children have lost and are extremely important moving forward.
As always, I welcome your comments. Have a great week!