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25 Jun 2022, Edition - 2538, Saturday

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Empathy crucial for parenting

Shalini.T, Psychologist


It can turn out to be an uphill struggle as a parent, and at times wanting to be the best. Trying too hard may just not be the right tool for communicating with your child. Every child has a unique personality trait. Understanding your child can become an effective and nurturing process with a simple emotion called ‘EMPATHY’.

Most commonly, parents fall prey to the social pressures amidst the close parental fraternity known to them. As a result, children are constantly compared and made to feel inferior. The underlying effects of such an upbringing can cause tremendous damage to the child’s emotional and social development. This is when empathy is used as a rescue tool in building a positive parent-child relationship.

Empathy is a great emotion rarely used by people. It is the skill to understand the feelings and emotions experienced by others and positively communicating to them that we understand. As a parent, this is an important skill to acquire for the greater benefit of the child.

Though it is in the best interest of the child, constantly commanding to get things done in a certain way can become a negative method of grooming. Long lasting habits can only be developed by observing the child and empathising with his or her behaviour. Seeing the world through your child’s eyes may give you answers to why he or she behaves in a certain way.

A child learns in a million ways. It may be a mere attempt at learning a new word, scoring a goal in football or bringing a glass of water to the table without making a mess. Every new attempt that does not produce the results wanted may end up with tantrums and tears. Watching your child break down and dealing with your own emotions in the process may make you feel helpless at times. You may feel the urge to constantly correct the child, take over to stop the crying or push the child to learn better and faster. When that fails, you tend to portray a sense of anger and frustration. It is during these times that adults often forget how tiny little tasks like these can be a tough learning process for the child.

Empathising with the child and reviving emotions from your own personal childhood experience can help in developing a positive parenting attitude. Perpetually correcting the child and not allowing him or her to learn from mistakes will result in the making of a very dependent child. Accepting the fact that the child wishes to learn new tasks by their own effort, encouragement from parents can build confidence. By using empathy as a key tool in comprehending your child’s emotional needs, you will be taking the path towards great and happy parenting.

The author of the column is Shalini.T, Psychologist.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own

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