Empathize with Your Kids

Monday, June 27, 2011

I have seen more coaches, teachers and even parents brush off a child’s worries, hurts, etc as if they were nothing. This bothers me, sometimes. There are times that I think it’s a necessity to brush a boo-boo or worry under the rug as if it was nothing. I mean, you don’t want to have a discussion about how it hurts every time they stub a toe, bump a counter, have a runny nose, etc. That would wear on ya after awhile. Plus I don’t always want a make big out of some worries and make them BIGGER worries because I freaked out. BUT there are times that we adults need to suck it up and talk to a kid about what they are feeling. There needs to be empathy!

Adults are good at empathy with other adults. We live in the same world. Have a lot of the same emotions. Respond to things in an adult way. Makes sense that we should have a bit of understanding about the other adults around us. “Oh, I am so tired of chasing this toddler around! How do they get into the Hershey kisses on the top shelf of the pantry so quickly?!” I can relate to that. It’s tiring! It’s funny! It’s not so funny too. I have empathy for that adult and that statement. (Oh wait, it was me! Sigh…) When a child might say, “My head hurts.” Hmmm… Brush it off? Investigate a bit? Or start the medication, call the EMS and give them an ice pack?

Granted a LOT of what kids say is just a copy-cat of the adults around them. If an adult around them complains about their knees, weight, head hurts, allergies, etc all the time, well that kid might start doing that too whether there is something there or not! That doesn’t mean they might never REALLY hurt though.

I’ve started noticing with my kids more that when I stop, talk with them and maybe take just a moment and a few sentences to explain to them what’s going on, it helps. They also try HARDER to explain things to me because they have noticed that I really want to know. I want them to explain it to me so I can try to help if I can. Amazing how that works out. A limited vocabulary can definitely hinder the ability to explain something to anyone.

At any rate…. slow down a bit. Ask a few questions. Try to remember back to how things felt when YOU were their age. Have some empathy.



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