Using Empathy to Avoid Creating a Bully


TIME magazine wrote an article called “How Not to Raise a Bully: The Early Roots of Empathy” that I wanted to share here. The article discusses techniques parents can use to help teach empathy to children at an early age. This is a subject I have talked about many times on this website and one I believe we can all take away some learning from.

The article discusses some research findings that correlate issues of bullying with early childhood development. In the article it states:

“Childhood — as early as infancy — is now known to be a critical time for the development of empathy. And although children can be astonishingly resilient, surviving and sometimes thriving despite abuse and neglect, studies show that those who experience such early trauma are at much greater risk of becoming aggressive or even psychopathic later on, bullying other children or being victimized by bullies themselves.

Simple neglect can be surprisingly damaging. In 2007, researchers published the first randomized, controlled study of the effect of being raised in an orphanage; that study, and subsequent research on the same sample of Romanian orphans, found that compared with babies placed with a foster family, those who were sent to institutions had lower IQs, slower physical growth, problems with human attachment and differences in functioning in brain areas related to emotional development.”

It goes on to discuss this and ways you can help your children in greater detail. I found the research and article supports most of my assumptions about the importance of teaching empathy at a young age and how you choose to discipline your children. Click here to read the whole TIME article .

If this interests you, you may also want to read the book Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential–and Endangered. It talks further about the importance of learning empathy and the damage that can be done if children are raised without empathy knowledge.

6 thoughts on “Using Empathy to Avoid Creating a Bully

  1. Bullying is such a serious topic today. On the subject of research, Dr. Lara Mayeux, who is a peer-relations psychologist from the University of Oklahoma has a blog with several good entries that deal with bullying and popularity worth mentioning: She cites research in the following post, Bullying, Part 2 that indicates that when peers intervene, that bullying is often curbed. Worth reading.

  2. I like how the article does not forget those kids who experience abuse at home. I agree that empathy is the key to stopping almost all crime. Isn’t that what “The Golden Rule” really preaches? From a spiritual standpoint, if you believe that you are here to learn something, and you are the victim of bullying, then it is one of your life’s missions to learn how to deal with bullies. Every life has a bully of some sort. Some are more aggressive or physical than others. In Darvin the Nerd, Darvin is, at first, bullied then almost becomes a bully himself until he sees the environment in which a human bully lives.

    Paul Vincent Rodriguez, author, “Tales of Fairies” books series. (Aynil the Traveler, Rebecca the Chased, Darvin the Nerd. http://www.talesoffairies.com

  3. Pingback: 50 Best Blogs for School Counselors | Master's Degree

  4. Pingback: Using Empathy to Avoid Creating a Bully | Bullying Help

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