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The evolution of empathy in children

The evolution of empathy in children


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When we speak of development in children, we refer to physical and psychological development, understanding the latter as cognitive, emotional and social development, which are three strongly interconnected areas.

Lately, a lot of importance has been given to the emotional development of children, emotional intelligence and programs to help children learn about emotions and learn to manage them. One of these basic emotions is empathy, on our site we tell you why it is so important to develop empathy in children and how to achieve it.

Empathy is a cognitive-emotional capacity that allows people to put themselves in the place of others and understand what they are feeling, in addition to reacting emotionally to that feeling and even feeling the same as him. Depending on the person and the situation, the empathic experience and its consequences will be different.

Learning empathy in children it develops along a continuum that goes, from overcoming the egocentricity typical of childhood, to the ability to identify and relate feelings to situations both present and past or future.

The development stages proposed by Hoffman (2000) are:

- Global Empathy: first year of life. The baby still does not perceive others as different from himself, so the pain he perceives in another is confused with his own unpleasant feelings. It is the stage of motor mimicry when expressing-feeling emotions.

- Egocentric empathy: second year of life. The child is aware that it is another person who experiences the unpleasant situation, however, he assumes that the internal states that the other experiences are those that he is experiencing and emits the first supportive relationships identical to those that he performs for himself. -calm down.

- Empathy towards the feelings of others: 3-4 years. The child is aware that the feelings he experiences are different from those that the other person is experiencing and responds to them in a slightly less egocentric way, beginning to try to act on the situation that triggered the pain in the other.

- Empathy towards the vital circumstances of another, includes the final period of childhood and can develop throughout life. The feelings of others are perceived, not only as reactions of the moment, but as expressions of their general life experience. The understanding of feelings goes beyond the here and now, and allows the adoption of other people's perspectives no matter how different they are from your own. It depends on the knowledge or information about the lives of other people and the capacity for emotional self-regulation.

Correct emotional development and within the parameters considered normal is essential for the child to reach a sufficient level of emotional intelligence, which is the essential ability of people to attend and perceive feelings appropriately and accurately.

Empathy is important in the media that motivates prosocial behavior and inhibits aggressive behavior.

We must bear in mind that the affective and emotional development of children begins from the moment of birth, (if not before, according to studies on prenatal development).

There is no doubt that the childhood stage is very important to develop adequate emotional and social skills in children that will have an impact on all subsequent stages and in all this, the role of parents is fundamental. How they interpret and understand children's emotions since they are babies and how they react to them is fundamental. If parents know how to show affection and understand what their children feel and need, they will learn to express their own emotions and therefore, they will know how to interpret and feel those of others. Hence the importance of good emotional communication in the family from the beginning.

Speaking of emotional intelligence we can say that people with emotional intelligence are able to:

- Identify your own emotions.

- Manage and express their emotions appropriately.

- Accept themselves and others.

- Develop strong self-control and empathy.

- Have a high ability to solve problems.

You can read more articles similar to The evolution of empathy in children, in the Securities on site category.


Video: Paul Bloom. On The Evolutionary and Developmental Origins of Morality and Empathy (February 2023).