Empathy is learned through RECEIVING empathy, and being surrounded by people who MODEL empathy, not thru being instructed to say "I'm sorry".
Here's how to guide a child when something they have done is hurtful to someone else.
1. Connect with them about the feelings that drove their behavioral choice
2. Model empathy for the person who was impacted by their actions
3. Collaborate with them to brainstorm repair and help them execute that repair
Rinse and Repeat. Hundreds of times.
The ability to be accountable for our actions and empathetic to the people who were negatively impacted is a highly complex emotional skill that takes time to learn. How many grown ups do you know that do it well? Most people were told to "say sorry" without any training on the complex process truly involved in taking accountability and making repairs.
The difference between consequences and punishment is important to understand, as consequences are the natural outcome of an action and necessary for learning, while punishments are intentional pain inflicted to control behavior, which can damage the parent-child relationship and hinder a child's growth towards internal security.
Discover the importance of disgust as a natural emotion and a trustworthy warning for children's safety, and how to teach children to communicate their disgust feelings respectfully without shutting them down in this insightful and informative video.
Discover why natural consequences are great teachers for children, especially those with neurodivergent conditions like ADHD and Autism, and why guiding and teaching instead of punishing and preaching is a more effective approach to helping your child learn to listen to and trust their bodies, in this enlightening video on interoception and attachment.