Step Boost Empathy and Sensitivity

Demanding kids rarely consider the other person's feelings; they consider only their own agenda. They also can be completely oblivious to how inconsiderate their demands are.What they must learn is to think about the other person's feelings and needs.The best news is that empathy—that miraculous virtue that puts you into other people's shoes so you can think and feel where they are coming from—is teachable. That means you can increase your kid's feeling for others, and that will help curb his demanding ways.Although it is teachable, changing your kid's demanding ways so he is more sensitive to others' feelings will take time and diligent, consistent effort. Look for those teachable moments to boost his empathy when your kid is demanding. Here are three ways:

• Switch roles. Demanding kids need to consider the other person's needs, so ask your kid to imagine being the other kid: "Pretend you were your guest.You come to the house wanting to play, but you never get to choose the game or make any decisions. How do you feel? Would you want to go back to her house? What can you do next time to make things more enjoyable for your friend?"

• Gain a new perspective. The next time your kid barrels ahead with his demands, make him stop and think about how the recipient is feeling: "You be me right now. How would you feel when you're talked to like that? Would you want to agree to those demands?"

• Imagine the other person. "Did you notice Dad was resting? Do you think he appreciated your interrupting him right then? Pretend you are Dad.Tell me about his day. Now imagine you are him and you just came home after a day like that. How would you feel if your son woke you up and demanded help with his homework? Tell me. So when would have been a better time to ask him to help you with your project?"

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