October is filled with some exciting events. We will be celebrating Unity Day on the 19th, which is a day that we unite against bullying. We also celebrate Red Ribbon Week on the 24th-28th (more details to come on both of these events).
While both of these events are celebrating unity against something (bullying, drugs, etc.) we like to focus more on celebrating and supporting positive traits that develop good character traits in our students. Empathy is one of those things. If we can teach students to utilize empathy and respect, there will be less bullying! We don't want to focus on what we should not do as much as we want to focus on what we should! do
How can you help your child develop empathy?
By you modeling empathy, your student will have a better understanding of empathy and of how it feels when someone is empathic towards them. Even during times when your child is upset with you, saying things like, "I understand you are feeling _____" or "I know what it feels like to be _____." It helps your student feel heard and they can see you showcasing empathy skills.
When you are reading to your child or watching TV, pause and ask, "how is the character feeling right now?" Discuss why they may be feeling this way and ask, "have you ever felt that way before?"
Encourage kids to share their feelings with you and share your feelings with them appropriately. It's okay to say, "I'm feeling frustrated because you aren't listening." We need to teach our students that feelings are okay, it's what we do with those feelings that may not be okay. For example, while it's okay to be angry, it's not okay to hit a friend. By helping students become more in touch with their emotions, they will be able to better understand the emotions of others.
While we may not share the same experiences of others, most of us know what it feels like to be sad, angry, or lose someone or something we love. We draw from those past experiences to fuel connection with others. And connection with others encourages a safe, caring community- one that we are striving to create here at Lincoln!
Here's a great, short video on empathy to close. Happy October!
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Missy Smith, LPC, NCC