When You Don’t See Empathy Working

Guidance for children is the parents’ duty. Parents need to set limitations for their kids in order to start telling them about what’s right and what’s not. However, all of it needs to be done with empathy. It’s also the empathy which needs to be shown to the children when they are upset under the influence of ‘extreme emotions’. Most of the parents would agree that empathy can do the wonders in calming the children.

It’s worth mentioning here that showing empathy doesn’t mean that you have to give the child what he/she is demanding for. It’s mainly about telling the kid that you, as a parent, understand. By showing empathy, you are basically anticipating the negative emotions. It helps in getting reconnected with the kid.

Nevertheless, empathy doesn’t always do the job of calming the child. Sometimes, children are overwhelmed by emotions and they just need to break in tears to let those emotions go away. In that case, the words of empathy can actually cause them to give a display of those emotions. But, it doesn’t mean that empathic support didn’t work for them. The matter of fact is that they needed that empathy to get rid of the emotions which started ruining them.

With that said, we are going to mention some scenarios in which parents may think showing empathy backfires, but it doesn’t actually.

After being empathized, kid cries harder

It’s a natural phenomenon that emotions inside a child intensify when he/she gets empathy from one of the elders. However, it doesn’t mean that these emotions are boosted. Basically, empathy opens the way for the emotions to be expressed clearly because child tends to think that he is being understood. Thus, he naturally wants to express what he feels loud and clear. Good news is that it’s not something to worry about. It is actually the healing process which the child requires to get back to normal.

Tantrums don’t stop after empathy is shown

The basic reason behind it is that children sometimes just need to cry in order to get rid of the extreme feelings. Therefore, trying to stop them from making tantrums in that scenario can be hurtful for the children. Instead, you can let them express their feelings while you keep anticipating those feelings. When they will be done, they are going to be calmer and happier than before.

Things getting worse after acknowledging

It may be OK to say to a toddler “you are so mad” in a voice that expresses your understanding, but it is not the effective technique for the grown up children. Small children just want their elders to understand them, but elder children demand for something more. Sometimes, they may also need just an acknowledgement but, most of the times, they ask for more because their scope is widened with the age. Hence, it might be the good idea to move a little further to help them rather just acknowledging their emotions.