HOW KIDS LEARN EMPATHY

Why is it that some people seem to have more empathy than others? And some seem to have none at all. How did we get this way? Is it nature? Is it nurture?

Neuroscientist Dr. Marco Iacoboni, author of Mirroring People, the new Science of how we connect with others” tells how scientists have discovered the brains’ capacity for what they call ‘mirroring’: the ability to feel something that happens to another as though it’s happening to us!  

According to Dr. Iacoboni, “…whenever you expose kids to any form of violence, through media, through video games or through films, then you put these kids at risk of expressing violence with their own acts because they’re going to imitate that.

What we call ‘empathy’ happens when our brains light up in the same areas in our brains that mirror what the other person is feeling. One of the earliest scientific observations found a monkey’s brain fired up seeing someone licking an ice cream cone as though he were eating it himself!

Dr. Iacoboni says, “All in all, we come to understand others via imitation, and imitation shares functional mechanisms with language and empathy.”

To me  that sounds like: “MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO!”

Most of us are innately wired to feel for each other.

It’s no wonder that most spiritual faiths embrace some kind of teaching that expresses “Treat others the way YOU want to be treated”.

But how can we teach that to children?

What kids need is more GOOD examples.

Our kids will only be teachable for a little while, and they are learning from YOU things that are ‘more caught than taught’.   Dr. Iacoboni said, ”The way we understand other people’s feelings is by simulating in our brain the same activity we have when we experience those emotions.”

Turn off the TV and involve them with the day to day things that you need to do. Let them ‘mirror’ what YOU are doing. It’ll be more fun if you work together. They’ll learn to help and their fun will be so much better when they are done. And they’ll be proud of themselves.

I know you care about educating children for good character, or you wouldn’t be reading this.

If you ARE a parent, here are some links you can use to help you find things fast on GoMommyGO®:

 1- FREE Behavior charts on GoMommyGO (the 8 1/2 X 11 charts you download, customize and print up yourself)

2 –  When you click on any image on THIS PAGE it takes you to what the images mean.

3 – TIPS for PLANNING AHEAD!

4 – And what to do when you need to give CONSEQUENSES for bad behavior.

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