You are responsible for your childrenís health in many different forms, spiritual, physical, mental, emotional and behavioral. As parents, we have to cover a lot of ground and not get too caught up in the total protection of our children at all times. On the other hand you donít want to neglect your children and expose them to unnecessary dangers either. You know, being a parent is hard work and it is a fine line that we must walk all the time.
Different people handle situations differently. When your child is facing a problem how do you handle the situation? Do you consider yourself sympathetic to their problems? If so, you may be a sympathetic parent or you may be an empathetic parent. Do you know the difference between empathetic and sympathetic? Most of us probably have not given it a lot of thought. Allow me to explain the difference and than decide if you are a sympathetic parent or an empathetic parent. One of these is very damaging to your children. Do you know which one?
Think about this, if your child fell into an old abandon well and you heard his cries, you would naturally run to the well and peer in. Your child would be very frightened in the dark and he may be injured, he could even die! As a good parent you of course want to help your child right away.
Now, if you are sympathetic you share the exact same feelings as your child. You are frightened and you can easily become traumatized when you look at the situation as a whole. As a matter of fact, a sympathetic parent would jump right into that well with the child and become part of the problem! Now there are two people in the well suffering with little hope. This is not a good way to be and it stems from parenting with your emotions. It produces children that are very dependent and insecure. They donít learn effective problem solving and as they get older their lessons are severe because they tend to make decisions on their emotions.
An empathetic parent on the other hand, understands how the child must be extremely frightened and knows that the child might be injured and could die if something is not done quickly. As a matter of fact, an empathetic parent would look around and decide the fastest and most efficient way to get the child out of the well. An empathetic parent does not become part of the childís problem; he becomes part of the solution. This is a great way to parent. When you become part of the solution for your children and you will become a partner in problem solving, a teacher, a mentor, a friend.
Written by: Michelle Shelton
Submitted by: Michelle Shelton * †
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