Why is it important to teach empathy in school and at home?

What is empathy?

Empathy consists in understanding the other, his feelings, the feelings behind his way of reacting. †It is the ability to put yourself in the other person’s place without getting confused” explains Marie Costa. However, it should not be confused with friendlinesswhich is one of the many positive effects of empathy.

Is empathy innate in children?

Marie Costa distinguishes two phases of: development of empathy during childhood. A reflection that she bases on the work of psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Serge Tisseron, for whom empathy is innate. In fact, around 8-12 months, babies develop an empathy called “emotional“. In this way they can perceive and recognize the emotions in the people who take care of them in the image. For example, he can feel the sadness of his mother. All around At 14 months, the little ones manage to spontaneously help others without expecting anything in return. In nurseries, it is not uncommon to see a toddler comforting a friend who has lost his pacifier or toy.

Next one, cognitive empathy occurs in children 4-5 years old. So they represent the mental state of the other.

When children develop empathy early in life,She must constantly work and cultivate herself through education“says our specialist.”A reassuring parenting with a strong attachment bond and a benevolent environment promotes the growth of empathy. Children should live in a family environment that is governed by listening and where their needs are listened toshe continues. UAn unsafe environment where forms of violence are prevalent harms the cognitive development of the child. There are several methods and techniques for working on empathy with your child, whether you are parents or teachers. The first indication is to know yourselfWe can’t understand each other if we don’t know each other a little“, says Marie Costa. For our specialist, it is essential that the child knows his strengths and his talents from kindergarten. This will allow him to recognize the skills of others.

Our specialist finds it necessary to explain the nuances of emotions to children in order to teach them more linguistic knowledge and to convey feelings. In the classroom, they can decipher the behavior of others. Marie Costa calls “the observer’s game” a method consisting of deciphering and understanding the emotions on a person’s face without verbal communication. the eChildren can also get to know each other. †Also as a teacher, I attach great importance to the fact that children know the first names of others at school, because those involved in a conflict have an identity in their eyes, which reduces judgment. † Our parenting coach advises the use of the “positive feedback” by appreciating the good attitude of each child. The adult should know how to recognize this and tell him orally.

The use of mediators also seems to be a solution for increasing empathy in children. It is a responsibility similar to that of erasing the blackboard or holding class when the teacher is absent for a while. After all, the mediator works for the common good and will act as a buffer in conflicts between children. His mission, then, is to listen to the two warring parties and propose an effective solution. The facilitator then takes on a supportive role, encouraging or congratulating students who tend to respect the new rules. †When we set up mediators in the playgrounds, we avoid a lot of violence, intimidation and we set up empathy very easilyMarie Costa testifies. This method also applies in the family context, especially with siblings who are regularly subject to tension and rivalry. Our specialist also recommends using a friend bench, a fun system that encourages students to watch out for their isolated peers on the playgrounds.

Marie Costa further presents the establishment “of philosophical timewhere the teacher or the parents can approach discussions around fundamental values ​​of our society such as kindness, respect, consent, freedom. However, the parent coach regrets the significant delay France has suffered in the education of empathy, especially in school. †JI sincerely believe that empathy courses should be on the national curriculumShe claims to have been a teacher for 27 years. She advocates a model based on Northern European countries such as Denmark, where children are the happiest in the world. Since 1993, empathy courses have been compulsory in schools, making the Scandinavian monarchy the only state in the world who taught this principle.

Why teach children empathy?

For many specialists, empathy would be beneficial in many ways, both in the short and long term. First of all, it brings inner well-being. †We are ourselves when we understand the othersays Marie Costa. Empathy promotes sympathy and friendship between children and improves respect for others, which is a basic principle.You learn to respect a teacher and a parent, even if you don’t agree with them.” emphasizes the parent coach.

Empathy rejects judgments and prejudices to foster a climate of tolerance. So it helps to reduce Stigma and make everyone feel understood, especially in the context of integrating a student with a disability.

Finally, empathy reduces the risk of harassment. †In bullying situations, there are children who are present without saying anything. If we develop empathy, the children will no longer support the wickedness and, on the contrary, can support the intimidated child.” analyzes Marie Costa. It is also not unimportant to note that psychologists are calling for the establishment of a positive and benevolent school in response to the increasing violent behavior of certain children and to prevent the long-term harmful effects of bullying at school.

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