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Culture of Empathy Builder: Kenneth Barish

http://j.mp/YnhHvz

Kenneth Barish & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy in the Family

Kenneth Barish is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology at Weill Medical College, Cornell University. He is also on the faculty of the Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy and the William Alanson White Institute Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program. He is the author of Pride and Joy: A Guide to Understanding Your Child's Emotions and Solving Family Problems.


How to Build a Culture of Empathy in the Family?

1) It begins with our relationships with our children. If we put aside as little as 10 - 15 minutes a day to share in our children's interests and listen to their concerns, we strengthen their willingness to listen to others.
2) All real dialogue begins with our willingness to hear - and make a genuine effort to appreciate - another person's concerns: their interests, anxieties, and grievances.
3) Then, when our children know that their feelings are valued and important, we can teach them that so are the feelings of others.
4) We can include doing for others as a regular part of our family lives.
Sub Conference: Home & Family

 

 

 

 

Transcripts

  • 00:00 Introduction

  • (transcription pending)

  • (Video Transcriptions: If you would like to take empathic action and create a transcription of this video, check the volunteers page.  The transcriptions will make it easier for other viewers to quickly see the content of this video.)

 

 

2012-06-25 - Empathy Is Not Indulgence - Empathy helps children bounce back
In recent years, some parent advisors have argued that we now pay too much attention to our children’s feelings. The critics believe that we have gone too far - that we have become too concerned with children’s feelings and not concerned enough with their competence and moral behavior. In this view, we have tried so hard to make our children happy that we’ve made them unhappy. We are so concerned that they not feel any disappointment (“Will he be too upset?”) that we no longer provide them with the experience of mastering challenges - experiences of mastery that lead to the strengthening of character and real, earned, self-esteem. We offer them too many choices, fail to make appropriate demands, and allow them too often to say no.


 

2013-04-30 - How Can We Help Children Become 'Upstanders' to Bullying?
2013-05-05 - Defeating the Culture of Bullying

"The common denominator of all types of bullying is a lack, or erosion, of empathy. Nurturing empathy, a potential that is present in almost all children, is therefore at the heart of interventions to prevent bullying.

In the end, Bazelon raises a larger question: What can we do, as parents, to nurture qualities of empathy and kindness in our children? How can we reduce the risk that our children will get caught up in hurtful teenage drama? How can we help them become "upstanders," not bystanders, to meanness and cruelty?...

Here is what I believe is most essential: Empathy begets empathy. As parents, we need to set aside time to listen patiently and empathically to our children and to repair moments of anger and misunderstanding. When we listen with empathy, when children know that their concerns and their grievances will be heard, we open a pathway toward emotional maturity. In these moments, children become less absorbed in defiant thoughts and argument, more open to compromise, and more caring toward others. Listening with empathy, however, is not always easy and should not be confused with permissiveness or indulgence.."

 

 

 

 

 

Interview Notes:


What I can speak most confidently and authoritatively about is the importance of empathy in child development - how a parent's empathy prevents the build-up of negative emotions and damaging attitudes in children and helps children form better relationships, because of their increased ability to listen to others, including their peers.

And about the importance of empathy in child therapy.
In my book on child therapy, I present a hypothesis about the specific therapeutic function of empathy: that moments of empathic understanding arrest the spread of potentially malignant events in the mind of the child. When we listen with empathy, children become less absorbed in angry, defiant, or withdrawn modes of thought and behavior, and this opens them up to more positive engagement in the world.

I would like to encourage us to think about empathy broadly - that empathy is a mode of thinking and relating that is often present, even when we are not aware of it.

And I can also talk about the difficulties and limitations of empathy - that empathy is not always easy, and of the tension all parents experience between our empathic goals and our socializing goals.

Here are my thoughts on how we can build a culture of empathy/compassion:

1) It begins with our relationships with our children. If we put aside as little as 10 - 15 minutes a day to share in our children's interests and listen to their concerns, we strengthen their willingness to listen to others.

2) All real dialogue begins with our willingness to hear - and make a genuine effort to appreciate - another person's concerns: their interests, anxieties, and grievances.

3) Then, when our children know that their feelings are valued and important, we can teach them that so are the feelings of others.

4) We can include doing for others as a regular part of our family lives.