Why is empathy critically fundamental? Empathy is important for our personal development, building relationships, and important for the social world around us. When working with children and families, we start with building relationships with them to gain trust and understanding to be able to serve those children and families better.
Empathy allows us to understand and naturally see other’s perspectives on how they feel. When we can demonstrate empathy to others, it encourages the relationships we’ve built. When our relationships become stronger, we begin to see the growth and change with the children we serve.
Empathy also helps us effectively communicate, showing others we understand how they feel and that their feelings are valid. It is important to show the children and families we serve that they are not alone and that there are resources available to help better serve their needs, giving hope to the families we serve.
Empathy allows deeper connections to those we serve; using and developing those connections creates a long-lasting effect. Since empathy helps with relationship building, working with challenging behaviors becomes less of a challenge because we’ve gained the trust of a child who is willing to let their guard down and allow us to provide the understanding the child needs to be successful. Being able to understand how someone else is feeling builds trust and deepens relationships, bringing all of us closer together.
Written by Casaundra Whisenhunt, Mental Health Assistant