Raising Empathetic Kids

 Kathy Masarie, MD, Pediatrican and author of Face to Face: Cultivating Kids Social Lives in Today’s Digital World, shared that her biggest concern for kids today is their lack of authentic, deep connection with others.
• NOT ENOUGH TIME WITH FACE TO FACE INTERACTIONS: Kids are not spending the time to develop basic social skills to deal with life
• KIDS NOT ABLE TO HANDLE CONFLICTS
o Kids are not working through conflicts on the playground over “critical to be able to learn about give and take and to manage life’s inevitable ups and downs.
o Kids can’t talk it out

• KIDS TODAY ARE LESS EMPATHETICCAN LEAD TO AGGRESSION
o There has been a 40% drop in empathy college students in just a decade (since 2000)
o When there is lack of empathy, there is more aggression
o 1 in 4 kids experiences bullying 2x/ month. “When I don’t care about the impact of my behavior on you, I focus only on what I want and I will do anything to get my way”
• KIDS DON’T KNOW THEMSELVES
o Kids are disconnected from themselves and even their own creativity and imagination. They talk in scripts they hear in TV shows, movies and even video games and when they are not in front of a screen, they are BORED and have no idea what to do with themselves 

Keep Childhood REAL campaign
The message is simple- get back to basics, what matters most when you remove the stress and the busyness is our relationships with people we care about and who care about us. To be happy, kids need REAL face-to-face connection. People who engage in authentic connections with people who really care about them, learn what they like and don’t like about themselves, learn about what they are passionate about- what gets them out of bed in the morning. To be successful in life, kids need essential life skills, such as patience, adaptability, open-mindedness ,perseverance, that can only be developed through interactions with others in real life


The new book Face to Face: Cultivating Kids Social Lives in Today’s Digital World focuses on all the components of kids social lives that matter- what parents can do to help wire their kids for connection starting at home, how we can help our kids be resilient to handle stress and conflict, how to manage digital insanity and other outside influences, to understand groups and cliques, and even how parents can reduce the harm of bullying. It is designed to be a discussion guide – to encourage parents to discuss and find solutions together
 

What can parents do right now

• Stay connected- for kids it means you listen when they want to talk,
o often right when you are cooking dinner or on the phone or bedtime
• Cultivate empathy- a kid can only learn empathy by receiving it. It has to be felt, like love
o Ex. Your kid says, “I hate this dinner,” instead of “You spoiled brat, I worked hard on this meal,” you might find out what is going on: “Are you irritated, because you really wanted to pick what you had for dinner tonight?” Often you’ll find it has nothing to do with dinner but with what happened on the playground
• Create safe havens- ensuring places your kids can go where they’re 100% accepted for who they are
• Walk the talk- any behavior you want to see in your kids, you have to model. So when your phone rings when you are talking to your kid or in the car- you don’t answer it or text back
• Take the time- forget quality time. Parenting is about quantity timeSet up 1-on-1 dates
• Create and Play- especially outdoors. Go with them on hikes, to the park.

To find out more about the Face-to-Face campaign click here.

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