Empathy means to identify with or the vicarious experience of feeling with another. It is one of those skills (and it is a learned skill) in which we could all use some practice.

A recent Time Magazine article detailed the importance of teaching empathy to children in order to combat bullying.

When examining empathy with my children, we use the acronym LUV: Listen, Understand and Validate.

Listening: Practice active listening by repeating what is said and checking to make sure it is correct.

Understanding: Let the other person know by statements like “I can see where you are coming from.”

Validate: Accept the other persons feeling whether or not you agree. Put yourself in their shoes.

Here’s a resource for teaching Empathy Skills to children. (from How to Stop Bullying by Teaching Empathy Skills).

It is harder to bully someone if you see them as someone like yourself.

Maryfrances Palmisano
Former social worker and juvenile/criminal defense attorney
Instructor at JK Lee Black Belt Academy in Milwaukee, WI
Mother of three children