Tag Archives: empathy

I mean it, I really do!


The trial is over, the results are in – empathy (as a parenting technique) really works!

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog called ‘Parenting . . . like you mean it’ – about a revolutionary* technique to restore peace and understanding to my household.

I’ve gotta say, I had my doubts. For months, we had all been living on edge, only moments from full scale meltdown if someone said the wrong thing or looked like they were going to. I was tired of living in a war zone. It was time for a reassessment of my parenting techniques.

So, instead of responding to all those quibbles with “you’ve got to be kidding”, “build a bridge” or “just stop it” I tried a little empathy. And the result was instant!

My youngest was on the verge of losing it. I tried to understand . . . and, as a result, so did he. There was no door-slamming, no tantrum, no need for time-out. Peace ruled, at least for a little while.

Other opportunities soon presented themselves. We talked through the options. Tried to understand the other person’s point of view. Took on board whatever emotion was bubbling at the surface. And peace ruled.

I’m not saying the process has been without its problems. There’s not always time to talk through the issues and my level of patience can be a little prohibitive every now and then.

But I’m loving it. We seem to be making more time in other areas as well and the kids are responding.

This household ain’t perfect. But I like it a little more these days.

* 😉


Parenting . . . like you mean it


I’m trialling a new – and shocking – parenting technique.

When I say ‘new’, I’m fairly certain that I used to do it. But somewhere along the line my patience grew thin, my staying power packed it in and my parenting perspective got lost in the everyday quest for survival.

So, in a bid to set things straight and put an end to the combative afternoons, brain rattling door-slamming (not mine, I hasten to add) and sense of dread when I wake in the morning, I’m attempting some . . . empathy.

So, kids, watch out!

Next time you:

a)      start an argument based on events that occurred months previously;

b)      overreact because you want someone else to get into trouble;

c)       burst into tears after only a minor skirmish;

d)      slam a door because the referee’s decision has gone against you;

e)      start protesting in front of the TV because someone else has control of the remote;

f)       drag your feet when the schedule doesn’t allow for it; or

g)      do ANYTHING that makes me question my sanity at the time of your conception;

I promise to:

a)      Demonstrate my understanding of your feelings using kid-friendly words;

b)      Sit down with you and talk through your feelings of frustration;

c)       Use a tone of voice which conveys my understanding and compassion;

d)      Praise your efforts to rein in those wayward feelings;

e)      Avoid blaming any party which may or may not be involved;

f)       Encourage you to think about the feelings of others; and

g)      Model the behaviour I would like to see in you.

And here’s the clincher – the best part of all – so long as I sound like I mean it, I should see results! I will report back . . .