help4yourfamily

Create the family you want to have

Parent Affirmation Monday- Empathic- 11/17/2012

"The mother"

“The mother” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Written by, Kate Oliver, MSW, LCSW-C

For this, the last week focusing on the PLACE parenting attitude, as described by Daniel Hughes, we are looking at the important parental quality of being empathic toward your child. Empathy is, simply described, the ability to see what another person is going through and to understand how hard/painful/joyful/confusing it must be. Empathy sounds like this:

  • I can see this is hard for you.
  • It’s difficult when we don’t get what we were hoping for.
  • I know stopping something you enjoyed doing is tough, especially if you have to stop it to do chores.
  • I can see how you would feel that way.

Empathy can also be shown with our bodies in the form of a hug, a gently placed hand, and/or a look that mirrors the person who is speaking. Many times we are showing empathy for another and we do not even realize it.

Notice I did not say that empathy means taking on the feelings of another person. It does not. It means that when you see your child in a particular situation, you are able to draw from memories of times that you may have had similar feelings or circumstances and empathize with (not take on) the feelings your child is having now. In other words, I want to distinguish empathy from a less helpful parental stance like sympathy, which can invoke feelings of pity, and/or the blurring of boundaries that can happen when a parent so deeply empathizes with a child that they feel they must take on the feelings of the child rather than letting the child learn how to recover from a difficult time in an age appropriate way. Empathy leaves room for a parent to guide a child, if the child is willing, but does not necessarily include a parent “fixing” the problem.

This weeks affirmation is:

I allow my children to resolve their problems and model healthy, empathic boundaries for them.

November 19, 2012 Posted by | affirmations, attachment, parent support/ self improvement | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

   

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