At present, children are growing up in an individualistic society and where child behavior predominates: harmful comments, selfishness, manipulation, lies and aggression. These behaviors are normal in children from 4 to 6 years old, due to the stage they are going through and it will be later, when empathy begins to appear as long as the adults are the ones who guide the little ones on the path of emotions.
Empathy is an abstract feeling that for children can be very complex since it requires certain behaviors to understand their own emotions and those of others. It is essential to focus on verbal and body language to avoid making comments that may hurt others. Children need to learn to be kind from the earliest childhood. You can start from stories and movies to begin to understand human nature. Pets, in addition to being one of the family, help children learn the value of care and also teach them responsibility and understanding the needs of another being that is not themselves.
As always, the example is the best teacher in the lives of children. Connecting parents and children will make the path to empathy more bearable even though it may seem complicated at times. When empathy is not worked at home, little tyrants will grow up that will become great abusers … and this happens when there are no rules in parenting or they are too rigid. If there is no example of empathy at home or parents who worry that their children develop it, impulsive behaviors, social difficulties, self-control problems, low tolerance for frustration and aggressive and manipulative behaviors will appear. Parents need to understand the importance of making an effort to work empathy from home and be the best example for their children. If children only see how their parents fight, how they treat others badly, etc … empathy fades like a sand castle shaken by a strong wind.
Empathy, the ability to understand one’s own feelings and those of others, is not something that can or should be forced. Your child will not be a better person for seeing the misfortunes of other people … It does not consist in hiding that bad things happen in the world but it is not necessary to expose children to extreme situations, unnecessary fears could appear. To work on empathy it is important to understand the other, but always without losing sight of our own limits. The balance must be found to understand others without suffering too much. If you suffer too much for others, anxiety and depression can appear about things that cannot really be changed and an irrational and disproportionate feeling of guilt.