In a recent post, I discussed how to raise an empathic child. In that post, I mentioned a key element to developing an empathic child is to have them engage and understand their own emotions. The question is how do we empower our children to do this? Before I start, [...]
To truly build a culture of empowered parenting we need to celebrate the collaborative work parents do.
There appear to me to be a lot of mythos surrounding the question as to why people bully. I was bullied for around eight years — probably longer. Since then I have worked with or alongside young people for fourteen years, and I have worked with children for a lot longer than that. I remember one time when I had an interview for a youth work post with someone who was aware of my history of being bullied. They asked me in a very matter-of-fact way “So, how will you stop yourself from bullying our young people?” I was quite frankly gobsmacked and astounded, but I answered her question quite clearly “Some people who are bullied do end up bullying, but that is not a hard-and-fast rule.
Here in the UK, there has been quite a bit of news about child refugees, as our Government has decided to reduce the number that they are allowing into the country. All of this made me think back to the time when a child refugee changed my views on compassion, especially in relation to children. It was 2006, and I was working at a Christian retreat centre in the Yorkshire Dales. At that time I was suffering from severe depression which had yet to be diagnosed, a depression that would see me try and take my own life a few months later. We had hosted a number of events while I was there, but this one would be different for me. You see, the closest city to us had a high population of refugees, and we were to host a getaway for them all. I wasn’t actually on the team that weekend, but as always those not on the team had jobs to do around the house.
As parents you have huge aspirations for our children right from the start, all of them good and positive, no one would ever want them to grow up to be the next Hitler. So, it can be both a shock to the system as well as a personal hurt if you discover that your child has been bullying somebody else. A lot of parents don’t know what to do. I would like to try and help you with that with a few tips I have learned along the way.
At Strength Restored we believe empathy is the key to defeating bullying. We go educate children as young as five how the fundamental role of empathy and the skills they need to become empathic. However, what about the years leading up to them entering school? The blueprint of our personalities are hardwired by the time we are eight, so parents have more than half the job of drawing up those blueprints. So, how does a parent go about raising an empathic child?