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Culture of Empathy Builder: Michele Borba

Best Ways to Learn, Practice and Deepen Empathy
Michele Borba

Michele Borba, is an internationally renowned educational psychologist and an expert in parenting, bullying, and character development. She is an award-winning author of twenty-two books translated into fourteen languages. One of the foremost authorities on childhood development in the country, she is a regular NBC contributor who appears regularly on Today and has been featured as an expert on Dateline, The View, Dr. Phil, NBC Nightly News, Fox & Friends, Dr. Oz, and The Early Show, among many others.  She is author of, UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.


"Empathy is the root of humanity and the foundation that helps our children become good, caring people. But the Empathy Advantage also gives them a huge edge at happiness and success."

Sub Conference: Education





UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World

9 proven and teachable habits to nurture children’s empathy and why developing empathy is key predictor to help kids succeed in our global, digital-driven world

UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Dr. Michele Borba, introduces a revolutionary but simple idea that will transform our kids’ lives: that empathy—rather than being a nice “add-on” to our kids’ development—is in fact integral to their current and future success, happiness, and well-being. And empathy is a quality that can be taught—in fact, it’s a quality that must be taught, by parents, by educators, and by those in a child’s community. What’s more, it’s a trait that kids can cultivate and improve, like riding a bike or learning a foreign language because it’s comprised of habits.

But why should we want our kids to empathize? For starters, the ability to empathize affects our kids’
future health, wealth, authentic happiness, relationship satisfaction, and ability to bounce back from adversity. It promotes kindness, prosocial behaviors, and moral courage, and it is an effective antidote to bullying, aggression, prejudice, and racism. Empathy also prepares kids for the global world, and gives them a job market boost. Empathy is core to everything that makes a society civilized, but above all, it makes our children better people and it’s why we must raise empathetic children. But how? Nine essential competencies comprise empathy. With practice, they can become habits that children will use for a




  • Empathy Habit 1: Empathetic Children Can Recognize, Understand And Verbalize Feelings.

  • Chapter One: Teaching emotional literacy

  • Empathy Habit 2: Empathetic children have a Moral Identity to Guide Their Empathetic Urges

  • Chapter Two: Developing an ethical code; Chapter two.

  • Empathy Habit 3. Empathetic Children Understand The Needs Of Others

  • Chapter Three: Instilling perspective taking and learning to walk in another’s shoes

  • Empathy Habit 4: Empathetic Children Have A Moral Imagination

  • Chapter Four: Using reading and films to feel with others and cultivate empathy


  • Empathy Habit 5: Empathetic Children Can Keep Their Cool

  • Chapter Five: Managing strong emotions and mastering self-regulation to reduce distress

  • Empathy Habit 6: Empathetic Children Practice Kindness

  • Chapter Six: Developing and exercising compassion every day

  • Empathy Habit 7: Empathetic Children Think “Us” Not “Them”

  • Chapter Seven: Cultivating empathy through teamwork and collaboration to achieve shared goals


  • Empathy Habit 8: Empathetic Children Stick Their Necks Out

  • Chapter Eight: Promoting moral courage to speak out, follow your heart, and do what is right

  • Empathy Habit 9: Empathetic Children Want to Make a Difference

  • Chapter Nine: Growing “Changemakers” and Altruistic Leaders


Here is a sampling of what you’ll learn in Unselfie:

  • Why focusing on self-esteem, praise, and trophies boosts narcissism and derails empathy

  • Why too much competition shrinks empathy and how to help kids be collaborators and think WE

  • How to instill an empathetic mindset so kids see themselves as caring people who want to help

  • When it is too soon—and too late—to talk to kids about race, diversity, and “otherness”

  • Why self-control is a better predictor of adult wealth, health and happiness than grades or IQ

  • Why time out and quick-fix punishments can be lethal to empathy-stretching and a better plan

  • How to cultivate the kind of optimism that helps kids handle adversity and have less stress

  •  Why reading literary fiction makes kids not only smarter but also kinder and activates empathy

  • What the real danger of the Internet is (hint: it’s not what you think); why face to face so crucial

  • How to help kids stay in control and find courage in key moments based on Navy SEALs tactics

  • Why mobilizing compassion is the best bullying antidote; how to teach kids to stand up to bullies

  • How to cultivate a charitable spirit in kids from a young age and best ways to nurture empath



What Will It Take to End the Epidemic of Bullying and Hate?

New book explains six methods to combat cruelty, could parents be the answer?
Feb 19, 2018
"There's rarely a day that goes by that we don't hear about a bullying or cyberbullying incident. We don't need surveys or statistics to tell us that children are dying from bullycide and parents are struggling for ways to help prevent this peer cruelty.

End Peer Cruelty, Build Empathy: The Proven 6Rs of Bullying Prevention That Create Inclusive, Safe, and Caring Schools, Paperback 

by Michele Borba Ed.D. (Author)

"Based on a practical, six-part framework for reducing peer cruelty and increasing positive behavior support, End Peer Cruelty, Build Empathy utilizes the strongest pieces of best practices and current research for ways to stop bullying. The book includes guidelines for implementing strategies, collecting data, training staff, mobilizing students and parents, building social-emotional skills, and sustaining progress, and presents the “6Rs” of bullying prevention: Rules, Recognize, Report, Respond, Refuse, and Replace."





NY Times: Is Selfie Culture Making Our Kids Selfish?

In “UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World,” her 23rd book, Dr. Borba combines scientific research with tales from real-world families and offers concrete tips on how to cultivate kindness. We talked recently about “selfie syndrome,” ways to flip the focus away from the self and specific activities to build empathy in our children. Here is an edited excerpt of our conversation



Is Selfie Culture Making Our Kids Selfish?
Following are some of Dr. Borba’s tips for how to flip the focus and cultivate kindness.
"When your children walk out the door, remind them to do one or two kind things each day.

  • Show that you value kindness. Do not just ask, “What you get on your test today?” but, “What kind thing did you do?”

  • Praise your kids for being kind in the moment – when they have earned it: “That was being kind because you offered your toy to your friend.”

  • Make kindness a regular happening. Put a box by your front door for gently used items and when it fills up, drop it off together for a needy family."


This is the most important lesson you can teach your kid
By Mackenzie Dawson

"A new book called “UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed In Our All-About-Me World” by Michele Borba makes a strong case for empathy as a tool that can be taught to kids, positioning them for success. “[Empathy], the trait that allows us to feel with others, has the reputation of being ‘touchy-feely,’ but new research reveals that empathy is far from ‘soft,’ and it plays a surprising role in predicting kids’ happiness and success,” writes Borba. “The problem is that empathy is widely underestimated by moms and dads, as well as the general public, so it’s low on most child-rearing agendas.”"

How to Teach Kids Empathy Through Books

by Michele Borba

There are dozens of ways to use literature and movies to cultivate children’s empathy, open their hearts to care about others, as well as to expand their cognitive development and enhance academic achievement.  A big secret to cultivating this habit is to make the activity fun as well as meaningful to children while matching material to their abilities and interests.


Why teaching kids empathy is so important, and the book that shows you how
By Shannan Younger
"Our kids, however, may be missing out on those powerful moments because there is an empathy crisis among today's youth, as Borba explains in her new book UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World. She cites a study from the University of Michigan finding that empathy has decreased by 40% and narcissism has increased by 58% in incoming college freshmen over the past three decades.  Why is teaching kids empathy so important? "



How to Keep Kids' Empathy Open in A Digital World
by Michele Borba
"But something more is at stake: our children’s empathy and emotional intelligence. As I researched and wrote, UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World I was struck staggering statistics that show a forty percent drop in our children’s empathy levels within the last thirty years. And interestedly is that the biggest dip happened around the year 2000-about the same time computers, Tablets, Smartphones, and all the rest became central in our children’s lives."


Six Ways to Nurture Kids’ Sensitivity and Boost Emotional IQ
by Michele Borba

"Of course we want our kids to be compassionate and sensitive to other people’s feelings. The problem is that many kids’ “empathy potential” is greatly handicapped because they don’t have the ability to identify and express emotions.

They have tremendous difficulty feeling for the other person simply because they may not recognize the other person’s hurt, elation, discomfort, anxiety, pride, happiness, or anger.

What these kids need is an education that provides stronger emotional intelligence: an adequate vocabulary of feelings and then the encouragement to use it. Once kids are more emotionally literate and can understand their own feelings their empathy will grow, because they will be far more capable of understanding and feeling other people’s concerns and needs. "


How to Use Empathy to Avoid Meltdowns in 6 Easy Steps
by Michele Borba

"Learn these simple steps and more in my book UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.

Model calmness. Your child’s best template for learning self-regulation is you. So how do you act in front of your kids after a hard day? When you’re driving with your children and another car cuts in front of you? When the bank says you’re overdrawn? Your kids are watching, so make sure your behavior is what you want them to copy..."



Unselfie, the horrific results of a lack of empathy
by Carrie Goldman
"Michele has traveled far and wide to study practices of empathy and the horrific results of a lack of empathy. Among other places, she visited an amazing camp that brings together young Palestinians and young Israelis, with the goal of teaching them to see each other as human beings instead of as stereotypes. In Unselfie, she shared the following conversation from her visit to this camp:"


Why Are Kids Bystanders Rather Than Upstanders (Offline and Online)? Empathy!
by Sue Scheff

"The good news is, as Dr. Borba shares, “Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured. And so can moral courage. Empathy and courage are a powerful combo to solve the bullying crisis.”


The recipe for happy, successful kids? Here's 6 ways to teach empathy
Today show

"The problem is that empathy is widely underestimated by moms and dads, as well as the general public, so it's low on most child-rearing agendas.

1. Be an emotion coach....
2. Use the 'Two Kind Rule.'...
3. Talk feelings....
4. Capture caring moments...
5. Teach: 'Always look at the color of the talker's eyes.'...
6. Read books...."


One Surefire Way to Reduce Bullying
by Susan Newman
"Selfies” dominate our culture, and the stress caused by the drive to succeed undermines the development of empathy—the habit that actually gives children an edge or what Michele Borba, Ed. D. calls the “Empathy Advantage.”"


A call for teaching kids empathy, made more urgent by Orlando violence
Heidi Stevens interviews Michele Borba

"Empathy is not an inborn trait," Borba writes. "Empathy is a quality that can be taught — in fact, it's a quality that must be taught, by parents, by educators and by those in a child's community. And what's more, it's a talent that kids can cultivate and improve, like riding a bike or learning a foreign language."

Borba is speaking Wednesday at Glenbard South High School, and I spoke with her in advance of her appearance. The following is an edited transcript."


Seven Ways to Foster Empathy in Kids
by Jill Suttie
"According to Borba, low levels of empathy are rampant in our culture, and in kids that’s associated with bullying, cheating, weak moral reasoning, and mental health issues, like anxiety and depression. Her book is a call to parents, teachers, and other caring adults to help encourage children to develop empathy and generosity toward others, and it’s full of research-based tips on how to do so...

1. Help kids develop a moral identity...
2. Give kids “do-overs”...
3. Encourage empathy through stories...
4. Support empathy education in school...
5. Examine your values...
6. Be mindful of social media use...
7. Help kids find their inner hero...."


10 Ways to Raise Caring Kids and Letting Them Play This Summer: stressing the empathy right out of our kids,
by Joscelyn Ramos  

Kids playing in the summer is an essential and these are some tips.

America's kids are more self-absorbed than ever. If their constant gaze into the selfie camera isn't proof enough, plenty of statistics and news stories point to a fall in empathy, a rise in narcissism, and an epidemic of bullying and cruelty. You want your kids to stop with the "me me me" and start thinking "we".

MORE: 10 Tips to Traveling With Your Baby


"Too many parents are stressing the empathy right out of our kids," says parenting expert Michele Borba, author of Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.



The Secrets to Raising a Compassionate Child: Fortunately, empathy can be taught and cultivated

by Liz Loerke
Empathy is the ability to feel with another human being. And we're getting worse at it. Parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba, Ed.D., explains how you can help your child learn to be more empathetic.

Fortunately, empathy can be taught and cultivated. But we have to put our phones down to do it. "Empathy starts with face-to-face interaction," Dr. Borba said. Here, her top tips for helping your kid care more:

  • * Read (and talk) more...

  • * Teach kindness...

  • * Emphasize eye contact....

  • * Share good news. ...

  • * Establish your family values....

  • * Do as you say...."

How to Activate Kids’ Empathy - Michele Borba
"Michele Borba, Ed.D. is an internationally renowned educator, award-winning author, and parenting, child and bullying expert. She is recognized for her solution-based strategies to strengthen children’s behavior, character, build strong families and reduce peer cruelty. A sought-after motivational speaker, she has presented workshops and keynote addresses throughout North America, South America, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific and has served as a consultant to hundreds of schools and corporations including work on US Army bases in Europe and the Asian-Pacific"


Empathy is a Verb | Michele Borba | TEDxTraverseCity
Educational psychologist and author, Michele Borba, shares her decade-long journey to discover how to optimize human potential. Surprisingly, it was children from Canada to Rwanda who offered the three best ideas to cultivate empathy. The best news: if applying those simple strategies together we can revolutionize society and build the best investment for our future: human capital.



Did you know that kids today are 40 percent less empathetic than 30 years ago? Dr. Michele Borba is an internationally known expert and award winning author on children and teens. She has authored 22 books - and her latest, "Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World" is all about raising kids to be empathetic in a world obsessed with "me." She talks about the causes for lack of empathy in this generation - and touches on some of the nine ways you can reverse it and make a more productive child.


Midday Fix: Author Michele Borba talks about her book, UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World



Want happy, successful kids? Teach them empathy
What do kids really need to be happy and successful?"
Hundreds of parents have asked me the question, and my response surprises most. "Empathy" is my answer. The trait that allows us to feel with others has the reputation of being "touchy-feely," but new research reveals that empathy is far from "soft," and it plays a surprising role in predicting kids' happiness and success. The problem is that empathy is widely underestimated by moms and dads, as well as the general public, so it's low on most child-rearing agendas.