Empathy is innate in human beings, says Maia Szalavitz in Time. Even babies prefer adults "who help rather than hinder others." New scientific research suggests that the best way to prevent bullying — and avoid related tragedies like Phoebe Prince's suicide — is to make children to be more aware of their natural empathic capacities:
"Start by teaching children to understand their own behavior and feelings — it provides the basic tools for understanding the behavior and feelings of others. For instance, when dealing with a child who has hurt another person, help him or her 'anchor how they felt in the moment,' says Mary Gordon, founder of Roots of Empathy, a school-based program designed to foster compassion. 'We always think we should start with, "How do you think so-and-so felt?" But you will be more successful if you start with, "You must have felt very upset." The trick is to help children describe how they felt, so that the next time this happens, they've got language. Now they can say, "I'm feeling like I did when I bit Johnny."'"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The uncomfortable truth in The Giving Tree
- The simple trick to making better decisions in every aspect of life
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- The U.S. government is actually trouncing Ebola. When will it get credit?
- Why America needs more billionaires
- Why 2014 may be as good as it gets for the Republican Party
Subscribe to the Week