Some parents are frustrated because their children are so self-focused that they can't seem to grasp the concept of honoring others. How can you help children think about other people instead of always thinking about themselves?
One helpful way is to teach kids to recognize emotions in others and then know how to respond accordingly. One dad wanted to work on honor with his seven-year-old daughter, Diane, who was self-centered, always talking and thinking about herself. He used a journal and, in the evening, asked Diane to identify examples of a friend or family member who was sad, mad, or glad that day. Then he asked the question, "How might you respond to that person in a helpful way?"
They continued this exercise every evening for two weeks. After awhile it helped Diane get outside of herself, look at the needs and feelings of others, and then talk about ways to respond with honor. When her brother is mad, it might be best to leave him alone or to just ask a helpful question. With her friend who is sad, she could offer to help and then listen empathetically. When Mom is glad, Diane could enter into that gladness by listening to the story and enjoying the situation too.
The Bible says in Philippians 2:3, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves." That's good advice for all of us. Seeing and responding to emotions in others is a great way to start.
What are some other ways to help children develop empathy?