Pointers For Parents: How Not To Raise A Bully

The early years of life are critical for the development of empathy

(NAPSI)—Bullying is a problem that has a lot of parents worried. According to a recent Harris survey, 67 percent of parents of 3- to 7-year-olds worry that their children will be bullied.

Bullying damages the physical, social and emotional well-being of its victims. It also hurts the children who bully, as well as those who watch it happen.


Fortunately, encouraging empathy in young children can discourage such behavior. Empathy is defined as the ability to put oneself in another person’s shoes and recognize and respond to what that person is feeling.

Building empathy helps children to consider other people’s feelings and offer expressions of understanding. It can be as simple as giving a hug, getting a towel to help clean up a spill, or sharing a box of crayons with a friend.

“The early years of life appear to be critical for the development of children’s sympathy and caring behavior,” said Dr. Nancy Eisenberg, Regents’ professor of psychology and editor of Child Development Perspectives. “Children who attend to and respond to others’ distress and need in the late preschool years are more likely to be caring and helpful people in adolescence and early adulthood. Thus, it is critical that parents and teachers be aware of ways that they can foster their children’s positive behaviors early in life.”

The 24-hour preschool television channel Sprout has designed a campaign to help. “Kindness Counts” supports the development of empathy in preschoolers by promoting small acts of kindness that matter big. The long-term campaign includes a series of PSAs, digital and social media components and programming tie-ins with the ultimate goal of logging 1 million acts of kindness across the country.

Parents are encouraged to visit www.SproutOnline.com to add their child’s act of kindness to the Kindness Counter. Select acts are highlighted on the air during the channel’s live morning show, “The Sunny Side Up Show.” Parents can also find articles and expert advice on the value and importance of developing empathy in young children.


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