April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. One goal of the Parenting Now! curricula is to address factors in child abuse and neglect to lower their risk of occurring. One known preventive factor is the development of empathy.
Empathy - the ability to "put yourself in another person's shoes" - is directly linked to behaviors that promote nurturing and bonding. Sadly, some people never experience empathy from others and don't know how to develop it in themselves and their children. However, empathy is a learned skill; modeling and exercises can help parents learn to see the world through their child's eyes and improve their connection with their child and the world. Imagine the far-reaching consequences!
"Roots of Empathy" is an example of an effective program that helps young children build empathy. Students learn about babies and child-rearing in classroom lessons, then observe the interactions of a parent and baby who visit the class regularly.
One boy, repeating eighth grade for the second time, was in foster care. He had witnessed the murder of his mother. Taking the Roots of Empathy course led him to ask a tender question: "If nobody has ever loved you, do you think you could be a good father?"
By gaining emotional competence, he was less likely to be a bully. The program's long-term results include an increased likelihood of raising children free of abuse and neglect.
And, thank you for all you do!