Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Teaching Empathy in Extra-Large Doses

Today, my 2 y.o. bit another child. I know "why" she did it: She has speech and hearing challenges. Another child was playing with a toy she wanted. She can't say: "I want that, too. Can I have a turn please?" But, you better believe the kid she bit dropped the toy like a hot potato. So, biting is effective for getting the toy--less so when one wants to make friends, which she really, really wants. So that's the "why" of it. But harder still is coming up with the "how" in helping her have empathy for other children when she is feeling flustered.

I've been doing a post-mortem of my responses to her biting of other children, and I was relieved to read this article by Dr. Meryl Lipton and find that I've done most of her recommended steps in helping her learn empathy. I haven't yet experimented with the drawing exercises, but I'm itching to try them out, despite having drawing skills not much better than my toddler daughter's. Perhaps she'll develop a little empathy for her artistically-challenged mother, too.