"don't cry mama"

Today I saw a post on Facebook asking for advice on how to make a child feel empathetic towards others when they are hurt or in pain.  In this case, the poster's child was 2 years old.  A lot of the comments from readers were that their child or children weren't very empathetic and just laughed those situations off.

It got me to thinking about Lil J and how he deals with situations such as this.  I may be one of the lucky ones but Lil J has always been extremely empathetic towards my feelings and others - despite the fact that he may hit me {and only me of course} with super toddler force and quickly apologize for it.  Well at least he says sorry, right?

When he does lay those blows, I either tell him sternly that it is wrong and he'll apologize or I'll fake cry and make him feel bad.  I know the fake cry probably won't work much longer but I love what he does when he thinks I'm crying:  he comes up to me, hugs me tight and pats my back while saying, "Don't cry mama, don't cry" in a soft, soothing voice.  He also sometimes asks if I'm okay.

There was one instance when I was putting Lil J to bed and he pummeled me out of nowhere.  My face was in pain and I was actually kind of angry with him so I started fake crying.  He told me not to cry which is usually my cue to stop but I kept on "crying" to make him feel bad.  All of a sudden he gets off the bed, opens the door and runs to my hubby.  I thought he just wanted to get out of bedtime and play with his toys when all of a sudden, my hubby and Miss S come running into the room.  My hubby flicks on the light and asks me if I'm okay and I was like I'm fine, why wouldn't I be?  Well apparently, Lil J had ran to my hubby to let him know that "mommy was crying".  I think he had just turned 2 at the time.  I couldn't believe it!!  How sweet and thoughtful.  I was so proud of him.  Could I actually depend on my 2 year old to get help if I was in distress?  What an amazing thought!

I've also been told by people that Lil J is extremely empathetic for his age.  I see it as a good thing - that he's in tune with other people's feelings and reacts appropriately.

To answer the person's post on Facebook, I would say that it totally depends on the child.  While I didn't think Lil J, being a boy, could express such empathy, my theory has obviously changed.  But I also know that Lil J's personality could change as he gets older so I'm definitely going to enjoy this stage while it lasts!

Does your child display empathy?

1 comment:

  1. My daughter, now 4, definitely went back and forth on showing empathy at the age of 2. Sometimes she would immediately go over and hug/comfort someone who was hurt or upset and sometimes she would just go about her business. We just worked to make her understand that, if we hurt someone, we need to make sure they are ok, say we are sorry and comfort them.