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Carter Harkins

Chief Storyteller, Harkins Creative

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How Do We Teach Children Compassion and Empathy?

Joan proposes that if compassion is so good for us, why don't we teach it to our children? But how is this done? What are your ideas? What has worked in your experience?


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  • Sep 21 2011: hmmm, it seems most agree that 'modeling it' is the correct way to teach compassion and empathy. If this is true then the initial step would be to turn the televisions off.
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      Sep 21 2011: Mike that is actually a very cogent point. Bandura, a famous psychologist demonstrated years ago that children to not actually learn human behaviours as well from television as from seeing it modelled especially if it is modelled by another child just ahead of them in stage of development.
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      Sep 29 2011: Polls and studies show that most children in US spend 3 hs or more in front of the TV, and only 30 to 45 minutes fully involved with their parents (e.g. at the dinner table) Additional time is spent with video games. The level of violence (verbal and physical), short attention span, ADHD diagnosis displayed by children reflects on that and clearly says who and what is influencing them. It is no longer mom and/or dad. If you add the fact that the average age of the video game player in US is 37 (yes, thirty seven), you will discover what a lot of adults (many of them parents) choose to do with their off-work time -NOT spending quality time with their kiddos! social skills are mostly gone, and the level of aggression is huge.Those are the numbers, and i have the experience: I see it in the classrooms, the grocery store, the park...

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