UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND COOPERATIVE EXTENSION FACT SHEETS
PARENTING TIPS -- # 7
HELPING YOUR CHILD TO BECOME MORE CONSIDERATE
It is important for parents to model the golden rule. Children must be able to see situations in which people who are important to them treat others fairly.
Encouraging empathy - capability of putting ourselves in someone else's place and imagining how that person feels is the first step.
1. Encourage empathy in young children by making them aware of other's feelings and the reason they feel the way they do. It is important to let your child know when they make you feel good or bad. Let the child know that you expect them to care enough about your feelings to show their sensitivity.
2. As a child gets older simple comments such as, "Think how that would make you feel". Point out people that show empathy and those that do not. Letting your child know that you admire kind, charitable people and actions.
3. Emphasize the good feelings that come from caring about others.
4. In older children, role playing a situation can be helpful.
5. As children begin to understand the concept of what is "fair", you can begin to incorporate it into discipline. For example: a child of 5 can make this connection - "If you can't treat Jimmy the way you want to be treated, then you can't play with him right now." As a disciplinary tool, the child is removed from the situation with a promise of being allowed to return, but the child must show they know how Jimmy wants to be treated.
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