Empathy: Why Your Kids Should Know It

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When most parents think of the characteristics they want to instill in their children, empathy is usually at the top of the list. After all, we want our kids to be considerate of other people's feelings. Caring children eventually become thoughtful, compassionate adults who take other people's feelings into consideration.

While some kids are just empathetic by nature, other children need more guidance to hone their skills. There are things you can do to assist your child. Of course, it's important to lead by example. Be a role model. Whether you're dealing with your child, a friend or even a complete stranger, be kind. Encourage your child to do the same. Teach them to hold the door for others. Remind them to say "Bless you" when someone sneezes. If a kid on the playground looks like he or she could use company, point it out to your child and push your child to interact with the child. When your child does something that displays empathy, praise his or her actions. Applaud your child for doing a random act of kindness.