How to Raise Empathetic Humans

Validation.

This is huge. And I know sometimes it is difficult. When your child is screaming and throwing a fit over something seemingly minute, the last thing you’re thinking about is how to tell them you understand because well, a lot of the time you don’t really feel like you understand why your little nugget is so upset over having to clean up after themselves, practice school work or share with their sibling. It seems like they are just being spoiled! But if you could try to take an extra moment to validate those real emotions, however trivial they may seem to you, you are teaching your child that it’s ok to have those feelings and setting an example on how to be understanding and tolerant. It’s as simple as saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way, I know sometimes it stinks having to do this, but I know you can do it!” Even giving them an account of when you felt the same way, letting them know you get it (even though in your head you’re just thinking how ridiculous this whole thing is.) You then follow up with teaching them the ideal way to handle those feelings. I’m not telling you to let your child get away with behaving poorly, impulsively and irrationally, the poor behavior is not valid, the feelings always are. 

Empathy is a learned skill.

When your child is doing something you might consider “mean” or “selfish,” sit them down and look them in the eye and ask them, “If someone was doing that to you, how would that make you feel?” This is so important! I wouldn’t solely scold them and discipline them although many times discipline will be warranted, I also wouldn’t  encourage the “tit for tat” mentality because that is also counter productive for teaching empathy.  “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” I remember my parents saying this many times, and it is so true. This will also instill accountability and stop your child from developing a vengeful, vindictive mentality. Teach them to be the bigger person. 

The example you set is your most influential tool as a parent.

Showing your children empathy is the most important way to teach them to do the same. This goes for any morals and values you want your children to learn. When my son is throwing a tantrum because he has to write sentences for making a poor choice, even though he is being a little terror in that moment, he looks at me with those big teared up eyes and I hug him. I tell him it sucks but this is how we learn, and that it’s ok to make mistakes. 

Always ask yourself what you can do to be better! We are always learning and growing as parents, the learning never stops! 

Parenting is the hardest job on this planet! Don’t be too hard on yourself and forgive yourself for mistakes. Learn from them and move forward, your kids will thank you someday. 

When they are acting the worst is when they need you the most. Cody comforting Saelor after an emotional moment.

30 Days Without Facebook

Hello! First blog ever and I’m doing something that I hope other people will try too. Thirty days without Facebook. I don’t know how many people are like me, but Facebook is a HUGE distraction in my life. It’s also a source of discomfort reading so much negativity, comparing lives, Etc…who knew the future would bring an online world that condensed thousands of people into one place where although you can’t actually hear each other’s voices, you feel the hate, anger and self righteousness through your computer screen with hundreds of angry comments and reactions. Violent videos popping up, false news articles, online bullying and smear campaigns, passive aggressiveness galore; Facebook can be downright toxic. And the distraction part…Once I start scrolling, I don’t stop sometimes for more than an hour (those are the rare “kids-free” days where I find myself mostly shacked up in my room, basking in the comforts of no nagging, sibling rivalry or mom duty in my big soft warm bed.) What could I be doing with my time though? What is something more productive and beneficial I could be doing even in only five minutes of staring at my Newsfeed? I’m going to write my experience with this, and hopefully it will inspire others to try it too!

Week 1

Accomplishments so far after deleting FB. Well this blog for starters! Writing is a passion of mine and I have a hard time finding the focus and motivation to start. Apparently deleting the toxic FB world out of my daily routine has given me a little motivational push? I folded all my laundry yesterday. SCORE! Does anyone else accumulate a mountain of clothes that migrates around the house until you’re tired of looking at it? No? Oh…

I still have Snapchat and Instagram…I continue to use those, but those weren’t my issue so I am not worried. I find myself clicking on those apps out of boredom, the familiar habit of going through all the social media apps is still there, but since FB isn’t there it takes up way less time. A couple minutes compared to 20 minutes and way less of an urge to check. It feels strange after making it such an integral part of my life for so long, but I definitely have more time to focus on other things! I am excited!

To be continued…