eggs, pancakes, and bridges

September 30, 2009 at 6:54 pm 1 comment

natural bridge, santa cruz

The conversation at breakfast this morning focused on feelings and giving value and attention to our children’s feelings. But the question arose: how do you bridge the gap between the kid’s feelings and concern for others feelings?

I like to think that modeling is enough. If we focus on our kids feelings, honoring them, responding to them, and express our own feelings as well, then children will automatically care about another person’s feelings. But my opinion was challenged this morning. Are we teaching children that only their feelings matter?

What do you think?

Does a kid have to go to school and get beat up to understand that hitting hurts?

Do they have to have an insult hurled at them to recognize that words hurt?

What is the bridge?

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

i feel… tired * IDEA * International Day of Empathic Action

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Hilaree  |  October 2, 2009 at 12:43 am

    Perhaps the bridge is patient repetition from caring facilitators, hopefully the child’s parents. One of the biggest misconceptions that authoritarian parents operate under is that children must learn something the first time. And, of course, if they don’t learn it the first time, the next transgression requires punishment, unfortunately. For instance, my five year old daughter is just now, after five years of patient repetition from my husband and I, learning to empathize authentically. The repetition may sound like this, “Look at your brother’s face. He’s crying so hard and he’s so sad. That hurt him so much when you hit him. That would really hurt you if someone hit you.” That’s just an example. But it has taken the daily repetition of us pointing out others’ feelings to her, helping her relate them to herself, etc., for her to now say things to her siblings like, “Oh, that must have really hurt when you fell…do you need a smooch?” 🙂

    Not to say that they also don’t argue and wrestle every day…because they do…anyhow…just some thoughts. Did any of that make sense?

    I also agree that modeling and expressing our own feelings is paramount. Lately I’ve been saying to them, “I’m starting to feel irritated that….(whatever they’re doing that is starting to be irritating.)” I think this also may prevent children from thinking that only their feelings matter – they see their parents having honest emotions right in front of them and the effects everyone has on each other.

    Reply

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