As we have discussed in other articles empathy is a key element of emotional intelligence, the link between oneself and others. One of the interesting issues of empathy is that you can learn, and it’s never too late to do it! Here are some proposals and activities that can be done to strengthen empathy in adolescents.
During adolescence, being empathetic is a crucial step in personal development, because it improves social skills and the ability to care for others. Several studies have shown that lack of empathy is a risk factor for the further development of antisocial or aggressive behaviors .
Dynamics to work as a family the empathy of the adolescent
We recommend some dynamics to work with family empathy. It is important to show the teen that they can count on you when they need emotional and physical support. Those teenagers whose parents are compassionate and help them cope with negative emotions, orienting them towards problem-solving, are more likely to be more empathetic.
In everyday life there are situations when empathy is necessary. For example, watching a film or TV series if scenes are shown in which there are bullying or cruel behaviors. We have to tell the teenager how the victim can feel. With this we will be helping to recognize other people’s emotional needs, exchanging ideas about different ways to help.
Identifying that what you feel someone else is similar to what we feel as individuals helps us to feel empathy for that person. Teach your children to discover what they have in common with others. Our use of social media can help the teenager, particularly those who feel a minority. Meeting other young people with whom they share these “oddities” helps social integration, and fosters community empathy.
Activity the imagined person, for a group of teenagers
Every teenager, behind the folio, writes the data of an imaginary person. He names him, if he is a man or woman, age, where he comes from, his family, language he speaks, what he does, what he likes to do in his spare time… On the other hand he will draw the face of this person they imagine.
Two volunteers go to the center of the group, exchange the sheets and with these on their face they make a dialogue between the characters. Everyone will have to respond with the data they are reading about the person imagined. After the activity there is a dialogue with those who have played the character, whether they liked to feel in the skin of another or another, if it has been easy to respond… The whole group can go out downtown and play the person imagined.
Working empathy with adolescents with the learning by doing methodology
comes to working empathy with teenagers we have to do it, for this we can use technology, this is the safest and most attractive way to reach them. Virtual reality, for example, can help the teenager to experience someone else’s sensations or context.
Theater is a very effective tool to create, because theater is empathy. Playing a role forces to abandon the self and create another. The interesting thing is that each one does the exercise of abandoning one’s own thought to act as the other would. The theater of the oppressed help teenagers to feel more free, learn not to judge and find themselves.
Here are just a few of the guidelines and activities that can help you and work empathy with teens, but the most basic is: practice your own empathy and maintain yourself an empathic attitude.