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    How can teenagers be made more aware of being more empathetic and sensitive towards others’ feelings and emotions?

    Team ParentCircle Answered by Team ParentCircle


    Dear Parent,

    This is indeed a compelling question. As we know, empathy is about feeling the feelings of another person, followed by a thought – what can I do for this person and finally, actually doing something for the person. It’s wonderful that you would like to teach empathy to your teenager. The easiest and best way is to demonstrate and practice empathy with your teen. Typically, a teen tends to give more importance to friends than to parents, leaving parents distressed about the shift.

    Let’s take an example – Yet again your teen wants to go out with friends on a Saturday, just the day you thought you could spend some time together. Here’s how you can empathize with your teen and her situation.

    The first step is for you to gain insight into your own feelings and thoughts. Write them down.  Next, step into your teen’s mind to understand her thoughts and feelings. Write them down too. These steps require you to be open and free of judgments. Take a look at the two lists and see what insights you gain – about yourself and your teen. The insights will lead you towards a deeper understanding of your teen. The third step is to think about what you would like to do to help your teen go out with her friends, and actually get down to doing it. This process of showing empathy will impact how you communicate with your teen. Your tone of voice, facial expressions, and gestures will soften, you will choose words that are comforting and warm. Your teen will feel understood and trusting of you. Most importantly, she will learn to empathize with your feelings too. When you let her know how much you miss her company she will understand your feelings and your need to spend time together. Listening to each other’s perspectives helps you appreciate different points of view while you talk and express yourselves and resolve the situation together.

    Do click on this link for a few more tips that will work for young children as well as for teens:

    6 Simple Ways To Raise An Empathetic Child

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