It's important for me to help my children develop empathy. I believe it makes for a more peaceful home.
I attempt to teach my children about empathy during times of discipline by responding sensitively when they're experiencing strong emotions. I try my best to create a safe space for their upset feelings and to be a model of peaceful interactions with others.
How this looks: Helping my 6-year-old son when he acts out by empathizing with his anger while holding fast to the boundary on his behavior, helping my 4-year-old son wait while his sister is playing with the toy he wants by empathizing with his frustration, and helping my 2-year-old daughter shift into her bedtime routine by empathizing with her want to continue playing.
Over time, I have seen how these patterns of interacting with empathy have shown up in how my children play with each other, stuffed animals, and myself. As they've grown old enough for school, I see how empathy has helped them get along with friends, teachers, and other adults in their lives.
My hope is that these relationship-building habits will continue through their lives with spouses, employers, coworkers, their own children, and others. I like the idea of how this helps promote peace beyond our home.
How do you help your child learn empathy during moments of stress?