We live in a time when empathy is not only lacking but on the decline. Kids are bullied because of the color of their skin, religion, culture, a disability and more. Bullying and cyberbullying are increasing, especially for black and brown kids, LGBT youth, and Jewish and Muslim youth. Fueled by decreases in respect, kindness, and compassion, the house is on fire!
Empathy may be not be a cure-all, but just a little effort can transform a child into a more sensitive, caring human being. The good news is that empathy – the ability to “walk in someone else’s shoes” – can be taught. This book is all about teaching adults to teach empathy to kids. The payoff will last a lifetime.
In this helpful guide, parents, caregivers and teachers are coached to help their children and students to develop social-emotional skills that will equip them to better navigate the world with self-compassion and empathetic concern.
The Empathy Advantage is for the busiest parents and educators. It provides tips, strategies, online resources, and activities that are fun and engaging and take just 10 to 20 minutes. It emphasizes the importance of starting early, being good role models, spending quality face-to-face time together, and more. It will help readers understand the dynamics of bullying and teach children to stand up not only for themselves but others. And it explores other topics including managing media in the home, the value of pets in inculcating empathy, active listening, and self-compassion – i.e. being as forgiving and kind to yourself as you would to a friend.
Lynne Azarchi is executive director of Kidsbridge Tolerance Center outside of Trenton, New Jersey—a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering bullying prevention, anti-bias, diversity appreciation, empathy, and empowerment strategies for youth. She is a tireless advocate for improving the lives of at-risk youth in communities across New Jersey. Kidsbridge is the only evidence-based center dedicated to youth in the country, with more than 2,500 preschool, elementary, and middle school students and educators improving their social-emotional skills each year. Azarchi has won many awards and been published both in newspapers and academic journals. She is a frequent speaker to parent and teacher groups, corporations and major educational conferences . She lives with her husband in Princeton Junction, New Jersey.
AcknowledgmentsChapter 1 – Why YOU Should Care about EmpathyChapter 2 – Empathy CAN Be TaughtChapter 3 – The Science and Biology of EmpathyChapter 4 – Empathy 101: Defining How Empathy Fits in with Other Emotional SkillsChapter 5 – Empathy, Media, and Social MediaChapter 6 – Parent Tips – Strengthening Moral CompassesChapter 7 – Teaching Empathy: Infant to Three YearsChapter 8 – Teaching Empathy: Three to Six YearsChapter 9 – Teaching Empathy: Elementary Years Chapter 10 – Teaching Empathy: Middle School YearsChapter 11 – Teaching Empathy: High School YearsChapter 12 – Empathy: Critical for Bullying PreventionChapter 13 – What Parents WantChapter 14 – Self-Compassion and Self-EmpathyChapter 15 – Active ListeningChapter 16 – Empathy and GenderChapter 17 – Empathy’s Cousins: Social-Emotional SkillsChapter 18 – Teaching Empathy through Documentary Films, Storytelling, and PhotosChapter 19 – Pets and EmpathyChapter 20 – Heroes and More HeroesChapter 21 – Empathy and Paying It ForwardLast ThoughtsAppendicesBibliography
An easy-to-follow plan for teaching respect and kindness. Empathy begins at home, says the author, and the earlier, the better. Azarchi offers such practical suggestions as holding family meetings, limiting screen time, and emphasizing face-to-face activities. . . . Backed by science and truly instructive, Azarchi's inspiring book couldn’t come at a better time.
[The Empathy Advantage] will benefit all children, including those with disabilities and special healthcare needs. . . . The main message of this book is that empathy can be taught. . . . Children will also learn that they are more alike than different from others.
Empathy Advantage is a highly needed book, especially in the times we live in. It provides a useful guide based on evidence-based curriculum to foster and cultivate empathy in youth. Lynne Azarchi, Executive Director of Kidsbridge Tolerance Center, introduces to the reader recent research on empathy and social-emotional learning. This book shares activities that help parents, caregivers and educators develop children's ability for human connection while acknowledging the strength in diversity, as well as practicing equity and inclusion.
Empathy is the most basic and essential life skill. It makes classrooms and families humane places. As Lynne Azarchi shows, empathy can be taught. Most importantly, Lynne can teach it, and that is exactly why this book belongs in every home and classroom- now more than ever.
The time has never been more ripe for parents and educators to explicitly teach empathy. The Empathy Advantage is timely and provides evidence-based guidance for parents and educators on myriad ways to promote empathy among children and students. Recent evidence suggests that not only can empathy be taught, but now more than we ever, it is clear that empathy needs to be taught. As Azarchi notes, evidence is mounting about the decline in empathy among children and young adults. Parents and educators should not be complacent about this decline. The data are clear that social-emotional character skills are associated with higher personal and academic achievement, as well as lower levels of bias towards others. Plus, these skills create a pillar upon which bullying prevention skills can be improved. The capacity for empathy builds one’s ability to care, give respect, provide support to others, and to be kind. Now we know empathy can be taught and Azarchi provides guidance on just how to do that.
Surely, there is no role as influential as that of a parent, nor responsibility as profound as modeling behaviors that build empathy in children. Lynne Azarchi, gently and methodically, empowers parents to teach kindness by creating opportunities that foster empathy. Early conversations about how it feels to walk in the shoes of another underlie a child's successful journey into a compassionate and fulfilling adulthood. Azarchi shines a light upon the importance of a foundation in empathy - not only to help youngsters deal with the social and emotional challenges of growing up, but to enable them to live and thrive in the tolerant society they will create in the future.
11/30/20: Northeast Ohio Parent interviewed author for “Podcast Episode #56: Teaching Kids Empathy.”