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Want a compassionate teen?

November 4, 2011

A Great Idea …

“The best way to help a teenager develop a broader range of empathy is to help provide a consistent experience of being understood and empathized with.” (Stanley I. Greenspan, in his book, The Secure Child, p. 43)

In Other Words …

Teenagers need our compassion and understanding just as much as younger children do. When they are independent or argumentative, it may be harder for us to give understanding to them. Yet when we are quick to criticize our teens, especially before completely hearing them out, they will be less willing to share with us. They will also have a harder time practicing the empathy that we have not modeled for them.

How This Applies to You …

Make time to be with your teenager this week. Before you get together, think about the things that are happening in his or her life. Think about your teen’s interests and concerns. Then, when you get together, listen with your whole self. Try to feel what your teen feels. The more empathy and understanding you show your teenager, the closer you will be and the more your child will develop empathy for others.

To Find Out More …

For more great ideas (or to share your ideas), visit our Navigating Life’s Journey blog.

For an excellent (and free!) program on parenting, see The Parenting Journey at www.arfamilies.org.

For more in-depth reading, we recommend The Secure Child by Stanley I. Greenspan or Between Parent and Teenager by Haim Ginott, which can be found online at www.betweenparentandchild.com

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