Posted in Family, Parenting

Raising Empathetic Kids

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back after a busy week at work. I’ve been working on my story, too, but it’s not going as fast as I hoped it would. Life keeps getting in the way. LOL.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about empathy. Did you know that kids today are 40% less empathetic than they were thirty years ago? That is a scary statistic. On the positive side though, empathy can be taught.

Good parenting is more important than ever now. Our world has changed dramatically with the surge in technological advances. With our ability to create our image on social media regardless if it is true or not, and the way our politicians spin their stories to look the best to voters is an indication these changes aren’t always positive.

So, what can parents do to make sure they’re raising empathetic kids? The first step is to make sure parents provide a positive environment where kids feel secure. This creates an environment where they feel safe and is the foundation for a positive learning environment. So, let’s talk about empathy.

 There are two types of empathy. The first is affective empathy. This is something we’re born with, and whether we develop it further depends on our experiences and environment. So how do we flex our children’s empathic muscle?

 We must help kids develop self-regulating tools. Tools that help them regulate their own negative emotions. Once they know how to handle their own emotions, they’ll be able to identify those types of emotions in others. Studies have shown kids who know how to regulate their own negative emotions show greater empathetic concern for others.

This means we acknowledge negative emotions rather than dismissing them.  Become an emotion coach. Help your child understand their emotions by labeling and defining them, then give them ways to deal with them.

Another tip is for parents to understand how guilt and shame play a role in empathy. For example,  if a child feels guilty because he made a bad choice, and it resulted in a negative outcome for another,  he’ll more than likely feel empathy toward the other child. However, if a parent tries to shame that child into feeling empathy, he won’t. He’ll resist what his parents are attempting to teach him because he doesn’t like feeling ashamed and instead of being receptive, he’ll be defensive.

Another aspect of empathy is cognitive empathy. This is where your child looks at a situation from another person’s perspective. One good way to do this is to read a story and discuss the events from the perspective of different characters. Did you know that children who read are more empathetic? Studies have shown that children who read have brains that become sensitized to the fictional characters, and this spills over into the real world by teaching kids to see things from another perspective.

So, there you have it a few tips to help teach empathy to our kids. Let’s turn that statistic around. How about you? Do you have some tried and true tips to teaching empathy? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Other articles on empathy:


I'm a Young Adult Author with two new series, "The Starlight Chronicles" and "The Super Spies." The first one's a coming of age series and the second one's a mystery/thriller series. I'm also the mother of two boys who keep me hopping and they're my inspiration for everything. When I'm not shuttling my boys to school or a play date, I'm writing. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hiking, or sometimes running. I love anything chocolate and scary movies too.

16 thoughts on “Raising Empathetic Kids

    1. It is a hot topic these days. I hope we can change that 40% statistic. I think if we get enough people talking about it, we can. Thanks for stopping by, Michele! I appreciate your support!

  1. Not really exaggerating to say that when my twin boys were little, my husband and I worried one lacked any empathy–at all. His twin would fall and hurt himself and his brother was not moved in the slightest–not even to come get me to help his hurt brother. As he aged he picked up on empathy; his is much more cognitive than emotions-based, like his brother’s, but it’s there. And he is a big reader, so maybe that had something to do with the development??

      1. I hear you! Some days, I wonder who the teacher is and who the student is. My boys amaze me sometimes with the depth of their thoughts. I don’t remember having thoughts like theirs when I was their age. LOL! ❤

  2. It makes me sad sometimes when I talk to people a lot younger than me how in some cases they have a complete inability to see the whole picture therefore the ability to see the other person’s view.
    Sometimes I have been told I am too ‘soft’ because I do like to know the whole picture before making a judgement, but I know myself that a smile can hide a lot of issues, so it’s always better to err on the side of kind.

    Good post : )

    1. Absolutely, I’ve been told I’m too soft or too sensitive as well, but to be honest I like that about myself. My ability to sense when someone else is hurting has come in handy many times. I believe being empathetic is going to be something employers look for in their employees in the future. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it. ❤

  3. Yes, society and environment has created less empathetic children. Like you said, Lisa, it’s up to us to turn that around for the sake of creating a better world for future generations. Great post, girlfriend!

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