Have a little empathy (and teach it too) – Part two

March 26, 2014


I wrote a few weeks ago about the concept of having and teaching empathy. Boy have I had to channel mine in recent days as my 18-year-old son was rejected from his first choice college (which was a huge reach).

He was beside himself with righteous indignation and it took everything I had to keep from reminding him about that semester Junior year when he was all play and no work! I used all of the steps of this 5-Step strategy for connecting with him and we had some really powerful conversations about effort and rewards!

To review the 1st three steps – click Empathy Part I

Step Four: Optimize – Remind your child that there are often many solutions to a problem by saying things like:

     “Can you think of a way to handle this differently?”

     “That is one way to feel about it. Can you think of other ways to look at the problem?”

Step Five: Get Moving – Make a plan and then let it go by saying things like:

“Okay. It sounds like you’re ready to put a plan into action.”

“You have figured out a great way to handle this! Now let’s play!”

I recently worked with a 12-year-old girl who was heading to the clinic at school every day during social studies. When we looked at all of the issues surrounding this daily pilgrimage, we uncovered that she felt her grades had gone down since the 1st semester and the teacher didn’t like her any more.

After really listening to her and connecting with her feelings, we got focused on the specific problem at hand, talked about all of the multiple ways to approach the problem and made a plan of action! No trips to the clinic in 6 days – and counting!

You can do this! And if you need help, reach out in the comments below! I read everything from everyone and I’m pretty good at this empathy thing – so give me a try!

Credit to In Step, PC for sharing this strategy

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