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Teaching Kids Empathy Can Help Them Feel More In Control During Difficult Periods


My youngest (by 20 minutes to her twin brother) has big feelings and seemingly small amounts of control when it comes to harnessing those emotions. Her joy, frustrations, anger, and sadness are all loud and explosive. The sheer volume of her emoting is a lot to take, but what worries me and causes my own big emotions to surface is what seems to be her lack of empathy. Her anxiety, fear, and hurt feelings manifest in destruction and violence.

Consequences don’t seem to matter to her, whether in the form of loss of privileges or in the pain and frustration she causes others. She lashes out when she feels wronged, and then the shame cycle kicks in. She can’t stop herself from getting in trouble because she seems to be perpetuating the negative external feedback she gets to match the negative stuff she can’t control on the inside.

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