Empathy Helps Explain How Parental Support Can Prevent Teen Delinquency

A new study of nearly 4,000 school children has found that youngsters who feel they have empathic support from their parents and caregivers are verging away from a wide range of delinquent behavior, such as committing crimes.

Published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Moral Education, the research, which drew on data surveying children over a four year period from when they were aged 12 to 17, also shows that those who received empathy were less likely to execute acts of serious delinquent behavior, compared to those who simply felt they had supportive parents.

In addition, the new findings — out today — demonstrate that parents/caregivers who display greater empathy enhance their teenagers’ own development of empathy, or the ability to acknowledge and understand the feelings of others.

The results follow an investigation of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children data source, which features a series of interviews with 3,865 boys and girls across Australia over the period when delinquent behavior first tends to appear.

Author of the paper, Professor Glenn Walters from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, USA, states his findings demonstrate that parental support, as perceived by the child, plays a “small but significant role” in the development of empathy in early adolescent youth.

The Associate Professor of Criminal Justice adds: “Empathy in youth also appears to have the power to mediate the negative association between perceived parental support and future juvenile delinquency.”

The study was launched to expand on results of several previous articles which investigated the relationship between parental support and delinquent behavior in teenagers. The proposition is that strong parental support reduces the propensity for such behavior. However, the results have been mixed.

Forensic psychologist Professor Walters wanted further clarification. Could parental support and delinquent behavior include an indirect relationship, rather than direct, and be mediated by another factor: high levels of empathy?

To find out, he first scrutinized two interview sessions where the children were asked about their level of parental support as they perceived it, and their development of empathy. To determine parental support, they were asked to rate statements such as “I trust my parents” and “I talk to my parents.” To assess empathy, they were asked to rate statements such as “I try to empathize with friends,” and “I try to make others feel better.”

In the final session, when they were 16 or 17, they were asked how often they had engaged in 17 delinquent acts in the past year. These acts varied in their seriousness, from drawing graffiti in a public place to purposely damaging or destroying property to using force or the threat of force to get money or things from someone.

Using a variety of statistical techniques, Professor Walters found that empathy did indeed appear to mediate the relationship between parental support and delinquent behavior. Children who reported more parental support tended to have higher levels of empathy, and these children were less likely to engage in delinquent behavior.

“What the current study adds to the literature on the parental support-delinquency relationship is a mechanism capable of further clarifying this relationship,” Walters says. “The mechanism, according to the results of the present study, is empathy.”

He does concede, however, that other factors such as social interest and self-esteem may also play a role in mediating the relationship between parental support and teenage delinquency, and says these factors should be explored in future research.

Walters also suggests, in future research, empathy should be measured from a younger age and that new criminalities such as cybercrime — not included in this data set — should be assessed.

By Taylor & Francis Group

Source: Empathy helps explain how parental support can prevent teen delinquency: Study on 4,000 children monitored over four years, finds children who felt their parents were empathic were less likely to commit serious crime — ScienceDaily

.

Journal Reference:

  1. Glenn D. Walters. In search of a mechanism: mediating the perceived parental support–delinquency relationship with child empathy. Journal of Moral Education, 2021; 1 DOI: 10.1080/03057240.2021.1872511
RELATED STORIES

How To Teach Children Empathy

Does your child have empathy? Or should I ask, do you have empathy? One of the best ways to teach empathy is by modeling it for your child. If you show your child how to be empathetic with your actions, they will learn from you. But teaching empathy goes beyond being a positive role model for your child.

What is Empathy and Why It’s Important

Empathy is such an important virtue to possess in life. When you have empathy, you are able to actively value another person’s perspective and respond with care and concern. Empathy is about having compassion and having the ability to envision how someone else is feeling in a particular situation and responding with understanding. It’s something that parents can nurture in their child’s lives as they grow and mature but it’s never too early to start! Some people are born empathetic and it comes naturally for them. But not all people have empathy and it can be a complex skill that some people need to mindfully learn and practice.

Who Struggles With Empathy

The more egocentric a person is, the harder it is for them to be empathetic. That being said, toddlers and teenagers will have the hardest time having and showing empathy to others. Also, if a child doesn’t know a multitude of emotions and or isn’t able to freely express emotions in their home, they may have a more difficult time being empathetic to others. Children on the Autism Spectrum, for example, also have a challenging time showing compassion, empathy, and effectively having perspective taking with others.

How Parents Can Cultivate Empathy With Their Children

Play it Out

Children love to play and play is necessary for them to learn and make sense of their world and various skills on how to function in their world. So I suggest, getting a box of bandages and have your child nurse their doll or stuffed animal and help them “feel better” by taking care of them. This will help children notice when friends are hurt and want to help them and take care of them. 

Practice and Define Emotions

Children need to know emotions before they can express them and understand how others are feeling. So I suggest playing an emotion game where you make a face and your child has to name the emotion you are feeling. Then, your child makes the same face and describes a time when they felt that emotion.

Model Empathy

If your child gets hurt or gets a bad grade, try not to invalidate them or dismiss them by just saying “it’s ok” but instead model what it’s like to show empathy. You can say, “How does this grade make you feel?” and “What can I do to help support you?” and “What can I do to help you feel better?” If your child is willing to listen, you can name them their strengths and encourage them to keep trying to get a better grade next time. 

Take Another Perspective

Talk about how someone feels in a particular situation that you see on television or in real life and ask your child,  “How must they feel?” Once you establish how the other person feels, you can talk about what that person can do the next time to act differently with more empathy. You can also teach your child to initiate asking others “how are you feeling today” or “how are you doing today” but if they have trouble initiating it, teach them to respond this way to someone asking them first, to show them that you care about them. A conversation between a family member or a friend is about giving and receiving, listening and responding.

Prioritize Kindness and Inclusion

Kindness goes a long way. Teach your child to choose kindness and inclusion. Teach your child that if they see a child playing or eating lunch by themselves, have them initiate a conversation with that child and invite them to play or eat with them. If they see that a friend is hurt physically or emotionally, teach your child to ask them how they are feeling and how they can help.

Practice Opportunities

Practice doing something nice for a friend who is sick, hurt, or had a bad day. Your child can draw them a picture or make them a card or a craft and deliver it to their doorstep. If your child is older, they can send a text, email, or call their friend to check on them. 

Volunteer and Give

Have your child practice giving to others. Maybe they can volunteer at a local food bank or animal shelter. Maybe they can gather outgrown toys and give them to Salvation Army or Goodwill. Maybe they can save allowance money and buy some new toys to give to a local Children’s Hospital or Toys for Tots around the holidays. Or maybe they can draw pictures to give to individuals at a retirement center.

Host a Family Meeting

Schedule a family meeting in your home once a week. At the meeting, let everyone in the family have a turn speaking and sharing. This will provide your child the opportunity to practice listening to others and their feelings as well as have the opportunity to express themselves and their needs.

Reflect and Listen

It is important to teach children to listen to how others are feeling and then to reflect on how they are feeling. It is just as important to listen to how other’s are feeling, if not more, as to reflect on how they are feeling. Listening is a very important skill to learn and practice. If you don’t listen carefully to someone, you may miss understanding how they are really feeling and how to respond and reflect properly.  

Make a Repair

When a conflict arises, you can have your child practice making a repair. If they take a toy away from another child or a sibling, you can have your child reflect on how that made the other child feel and then follow up with asking your child what they can do differently next time and how they can make it better this time. This might mean a verbal apology, a written apology letter, an apology drawing, and even a hug.

 

By: Dr. Kim

 

Source: How To Teach Children Empathy

.

.

.

More Contents:

Teach your children EMPATHY through these quotes!
http://www.youtube.com – February 20
N/A
Black-owned kids clothing and toy brands
http://www.reviewed.com – February 17
[…] We also want to teach our children empathy and compassion for others around them while encouraging them to embrace other marginalized cultures […]
2
How to Teach Compassion to Your Children – Cambridge School Noida
sites.google.com – February 16
[…] One of the top five schools in Noida teaches children empathy and compassion to deepen the understanding and ignite the children’s ability to empathize with on […] Here are some of the tips that you can use to teach your children empathy and compassion […]
0
How to develop compassion?
anandrao.wixsite.com – February 7
[…] The following figure highlights some key strategies for teaching children empathy. Figure 3: Key strategies to teach children empathy Developing compassion is important not just in your personal or social life, but is also becomin […] and Empathy – Are we doing it right? How to build empathy in marriage? Key strategies to teach children empathy […]
1
Children’s Mental Health Week 2021: therapist releases self-help book for kids in pandemic –
jonisjournalblog.home.blog – February 4
A mental health therapist is releasing a self-help book to teach children empathy in the pandemic […]
1
Vietnamese News Aggregator
[…]   ​ Everywhere, Vietnamese parents have always taught their children empathy, desire for higher education, and most importantly, the quest for justice […]
23
Eugenia Chu’s Blog – Multicultural Children’s Book Day – Review of In the Nick of Time by Deedee Cummings – January 27, 2021 16:17
http://www.goodreads.com – January 28
[…] These kinds of books teach children empathy towards those who look different and promote cross-cultural friendship while dispelling stereotypes […]
0
Multicultural Children’s Book Day – Review of In the Nick of Time by Deedee Cummings – EUGENIA CHU
eugeniachu.com – January 28
[…] These kinds of books teach children empathy towards those who look different and promote cross-cultural friendship while dispelling stereotypes […]
N/A
Can pets like cats and dogs think like humans?
http://www.smh.com.au – January 23
[…] Pets help teach children empathy, too […]
N/A
Shweta Verma on LinkedIn: #ADayonGinnysPlanet Meet Raadhika (Foodshaala Foundation) who is #
http://www.linkedin.com – January 14
[…] #grownups #empathymatters #diversityandinclusion #diversity #storytelling #inclusion #behaviour #children #empathy #empathymatters A Day on Ginny’s Planet | 17 Jan 2021| Sunday| 15 Events | All Ages | Art & Craft […] #grownups #empathymatters #diversityandinclusion #diversity #storytelling #inclusion #behaviour #children #empathy #empathymatters #socent #cooking #foodandnutrition #ADayonGinnysPlanet Meet Raadhika (Foodshaal […]
N/A
Is it normal to just burn yourself out trying to care for other people? Or like is it possible that at some point you just become to tired to give a damn about someone? : NoStupidQuestions
http://www.reddit.com – January 11
[…] They tell you, “put on your mask before helping others” including children. Empathy burnout happens when the person doesn’t put themselves first […]
N/A
Best Parenting Books: Top Picks for 2021
[…] In this book, she offers a step-by-step plan to increase empathy in your children. Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured and Dr […]
57
Big Emotions- Yours and Theirs (Part 3)
learningathome.com – January 4
[…] is a gift that you give children that they will benefit from their entire life through:​ Showing children empathy and respect​ Demonstrating confidence in a child’s capabilities ​ Teaching them they have contro […]
0
Opinion | An Empathy Lesson for Teens Amid a Pandemic – The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com – January 3
[…] She writes about the need for “empathy” for her teenage children. Empathy, however, is not feeling sorry for bored teens temporarily denied […]
N/A
Co-Parenting with a Narcissist
talkingparents.com – January 2
[…]   Model emotional intelligence for your children – Empathy, compassion, and forgiveness are not emotions your children are going to learn from their othe […]
57
10 ways parents can teach their kids to be allies to the LGBTQ+ community •
gcn.ie – December 22, 2020
[…] Teaching your children empathy and how to look at the world from someone else’s shoes gives them emotional intelligence […]
3
What Parenting is About: 8 Tips For Success- Daycare Las Vegas –
infokidscampuslv.wordpress.com – December 21, 2020
[…] Teach Children Empathy and Respect When children are raised well, they have a remarkable capacity for compassion an […] If parents don’t take the time to teach their children empathy, it can make them impulsive and cruel […]
0
Children’s Books of 2020 | Nasher News
nasher-news.com – December 14, 2020
[…] might not all be best sellers or trending across social and digital media but each book teaches children empathy and acceptance, things not often found in children’s literature […]
0
Mom Punishes Daughter For Mocking Homeless Man: AITA
percolately.com – December 11, 2020
One of the successes of a parent is teaching your children empathy […]
91
Navigating Parenting Challenges – How Can I Get My Kids to Do Chores? | Oakes Public School District #41
http://www.oakes.k12.nd.us – December 10, 2020
[…] Pitching in teaches children empathy, responsibility, and the importance of belonging to a community […]
0
Leaving Facebook
m.facebook.com – December 6, 2020
We’re just checking that you want to follow a link to this website: https://washingtondc.momcollective.com/mom-life/co-parenting-navigating-the-grief-of-separation-while-teaching-children-empathy/ Go BackFollow Link
N/A
Stories of Our Volunteers: How Can Volunteering Change Your World
novakdjokovicfoundation.org – December 4, 2020
[…] The soul is healed by time spent with the children. Empathy is nurtured through volunteering […]
N/A
Co-Parenting: Navigating the Grief of Separation While Teaching Children Empathy
washingtondc.momcollective.com – December 2, 2020
[…] Teaching Children Empathy During a Separation I created an affectionate space for open communication about our feelings […]
1
Service Projects for Kids At Home: 10 Ways To Serve Your Community
nurtureandthriveblog.com – December 2, 2020
[…] Here is what you can do — you can teach your children empathy, compassion, and the joy of serving the community right in your own home […]
23
Charitable Christmas gift ideas in Singapore | HoneyKids Asiat
honeykidsasia.com – December 1, 2020
[…] families to being an animal benefactor, these meaningful and charitable presents will teach your children empathy and the value of helping others […]
1
Tour: The Empathy Advantage by LYNNE AZARCHI (Non-Fiction)
nanasbookreviews.wordpress.com – November 26, 2020
[…] Director of Kidsbridge Tolerance Center, has the answer to these growing problems:  teaching our children empathy […]
1
10 best Christmas decor items to spruce up your home this holiday | indy100
http://www.indy100.com – November 25, 2020
[…] The wheel is an excellent tool for teaching children empathy and introducing concepts of giving at a time when the “gimme-gimmes” can be high […]
%d bloggers like this: