Can Children Be Taught To Have Empathy?

How do we cultivate the skills and values that people need to deal patiently and effectively with others’ distressing behavior? If you look at how young children learn to be empathetic you can see the key skills they need. The first skill is simply having an awareness of their own emotional reactions.  Imagine that four-year-old preschooler Ryan opens the lunch his mom prepared for him and starts to cry. In a high quality preschool, one of the adults might join him and talk empathically about how he is feeling: “Oh are you feeling really sad?” In doing so, she is helping him…

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