Like many parents and mental health professionals, I believe that teaching empathy to children is vitally important, particularly in light of the current climate in this country. Empathy is basically the ability to understand, share in, and care about other people’s feelings. Our children unfortunately often see and hear adults who should be role models (on television and in our own communities) engaging in behavior that does not teach them those core values that are most important to us.
It is likely that all of our children, at times,are exposed to language and behavior of others that we do not want them to embrace or emulate. So, how do we combat those negative, unwanted messages sent to our children. One simple way is to teach empathy to our own children and child clients is through reading children’s books, such as those listed here, with them. These are excellent resources to share with children and can help us to start the important conversation with our children and child clients about why understanding and caring about others is important.