Empathy is a potential psychological motivator for helping others in distress. Empathy can be defined as the ability to feel or imagine another person’s emotional experience. The ability to empathize is an important part of social and emotional development, affecting an individual’s behavior toward others and the quality of social relationships.
Emotional intelligence has become an increasingly popular idea over the last twenty years. While “IQ” (intelligence quotient) attempts to describe our thinking and reasoning abilities, “EQ” (emotional intelligence quotient) attempts to describe our ability to work with our own and others’ emotions. The importance of these skills for personal, relationship and even work success has become increasingly recognized in the psychological community, and researchers and therapists alike are developing ways of helping people learn and make use of these skills.
Technically, “emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to perceive and express emotion accurately and adaptively, the ability to understand emotion and emotional knowledge, the ability to use feelings to facilitate thought, and the ability to regulate emotions in oneself and in others” (Salovey & Pizarro, 2002).
One of the most important of the emotional intelligence skills is empathy.
Mutual empathy can go through the roof when we simply see things through the eyes of another person! It’s never bad for a parent to walk a mile (or even a few steps) in the shoes of her kids and vice-versa :)
Switch roles with your child. You be your child, and let your child be you
Replay scenarios which upset you/ your child. This will be a great way to truly 'understand' the issues at play!
You can replay the latest meltdown (your child's or your own!) in order to appreciate each other's feelings better
Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.