What is Empathy, and Why Does It Matter?

Empathy represents our ability to understand other people’s feelings. Empathy involves emotional and cognitive reactions to other people’s experiences, allowing us to recognize and understand other people’s emotions. 

But why is empathy so important for our kids’ future?

When we understand how other people feel, we can use this understanding to communicate more effectively and respond more appropriately to the situation. 

Mental health experts believe that empathy is at the core of successful relationships because it helps us understand the emotions, viewpoints, and motives of another human being.

The Difference between Empathy and Sympathy

Although very similar, the terms empathy and sympathy relate to distinctive features. While empathy involves understanding how others feel by imagining ourselves in their situation, compassion consists of the experience of being moved by another person’s feelings or experience. 

Two Types of Empathy

Psychologists often differentiate between two types of empathy:

  • Affective empathy and
  • Cognitive empathy 

Affective or emotional empathy involves your ability to share or mirror the feelings of others. For example, people with highly developed affective empathy often cry when another person cries. In other words, they feel another being’s pain deeply within themselves. 

Cognitive empathy is about your ability to identify and understand how other people feel. Unfortunately, children and adults with autism spectrum disorder have a hard time empathizing with others.

The Role of Empathy in Your Child’s Life

Empathy is one of the integral aspects of emotional intelligence (EQ) and self-awareness, self-management, and social skills. It involves awareness and emotional resonance – feeling what another person is feeling. Empathy skills mean that you are fully mindful of other people’s emotions in the current moment, allowing you to accept others without judgment. 

So, here are the three reasons why empathy may be essential for your child’s future.

1. Empathy is the Backbone of Successful Relationships

Research shows that highly empathetic people are more likely to develop and keep up healthy relationships and function well in society. Empathy is vital for successful relationships because it allows you to understand the perspectives, needs, emotions, and intentions.

Studies show that we may have a natural predisposition to developing empathy – kids begin to demonstrate signs of compassion in social interactions during the second and third years of life – our society’s cultural, social, and religious factors strongly influence how and to whom we demonstrate it. 

2. Empathy Nurtures Morality

There is a strong relationship between empathy and morality. Conversely, the lack of empathy is a stamp feature of psychopathy, causing a cold-hearted and cruel disregard for the feelings and wellbeing of others. 

The ability to empathize with other people promotes morality, helping kids understand how their actions could affect others. In addition, this understanding encourages self-control, assisting kids in managing their feelings more effectively.

3. Empathy Promotes Compassion 

Empathy is one of the essential skills our kids might need in today’s digital world. Unfortunately, there is an increasing concern that digital media lead to decreased compassion among kids and teenagers. 

Studies show that excessive social media use can provoke feelings of loneliness, shortfall, anxiety, and depression in children and adolescents.

Expressing empathy stimulates the brain’s pleasure neurotransmitters such as dopamine and oxytocin, causing the rewarding feeling when we show empathy. Thus, teaching kids empathy can help them develop essential social and emotional skills such as kindness, compassion, and the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.

Take care and keep healthy and positive,

MyFirstApp Team