Empathy Does Not Come Naturally For Many Of Us
I was surprised to lean that only a small percentage of us actually have a natural ability to feel and demonstrate empathy.
For approximately 20% of the population (those who meet Elaine Aron’s Highly Sensitive Person description), empathy comes naturally. According to Aron, these people (kids and adults) “display heightened awareness to subtle stimuli – whether positive or negative – and process information more thoroughly.” ‘“Sensitive people” show heightened activity in empathy-related brain regions That heightened awareness includes being more aware of and sensitive to other people’s emotions. – Sunshine Parenting
I find this statistic to be encouraging! If your child is struggling in this area, that’s actually perfectly normal for 80% of the population, It means we are all works in progress in this area.
Why Is It Important To Encourage Empathy In Our Gifted And Twice Exceptional Kids?
Empathy is an essential component of our kids social and emotional development, as it not only has consequences for them in the here and now, but it has lasting effects on their long term relationships as well.
While we can easily understand the importance of helping our children develop empathy, actually defining how to do it can be difficult.
The Relationship Between Connection And Empathy
For me, the first and last place to start is always with the connection we experience with our children and within our families. Our children are able to see empathy modeled in the way we connect with them and with other family members. Moreover, the more connected they feel, the more vulnerable they allow themselves to be in practicing empathy.
I love what Brene Brown says about the dynamic relationship between empathy and connection.
“Rarely can a response make something better. What makes something better is connection.” Brene Brown
A Conversation with Colleen and Shawna All About Encouraging Empathy In Our Children
In this week’s episode of the Raising Lifelong Learners Podcast, Shawna and I share practical, real life strategies and encouragement for helping our children develop empathy. We talk about what it really means to be empathetic and all the ways we can help inspire this aspect of our children’s social and emotional development.
Links and Resources from Today’s Show:
- Sponsor: Royal Fireworks Press
- Michael Clay Thompson Gifted Curriculum
- Royal Fireworks Online Learning Community
- The Learner’s Lab, a Raising Lifelong Learners community created just for your quirky family!
- Raising Resilient Sons: A Boy Mom’s Guide to Building a Strong, Confident, and Emotionally Intelligent Family by Colleen D. Kessler
- RLL #30: Andrew Peterson on Being Students of Our Children
- Knowing Your Gifted Child
- How to Encourage Innovative Thinking in Your Kids
- When Your Tween or Teen Has A Negative Mindset
- RLL #88: Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Children with Jim Delisle
- Homeschooling Twice Exceptional Kids
- Shawna Wingert, Different By Design Learning
- Parenting Chaos: Practical Support And Encouragement For Parents Of Explosive Children by Shawna Wingert
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