Empathy is the ability we have to put ourselves in or be the other person, Come to understand him and know what he feels. It has a very important function, and it is that thanks to it, we can better communicate with others and thus promote social relations.
Being empathetic is not only beneficial for the people around us, it also benefits us because it helps us in our adaptation to the environment and our emotional development. That is why it can be said that it is the basis for many other skills, such as social skills, emotional intelligence, etc.
Although we humans are born with the ability to be empathetic, it is a quality that develops as we grow older. that’s why people close to the child’s environment are essential for the development of empathy correctly.
Is it important to have empathy for animals?
We all agree that children should develop good empathy with their peers, but nonetheless, many the relationship that cubs have with animals. However, we must examine whether the emotional connection with other living things is also beneficial for the development of the child, as there are studies which have observed the relationship between violence and animal abuse such as Ascione (1997-1998) , who observed significant scores in his studies. on the relationship between domestic violence and animal abuse.
Naturally, the child feels an attraction for animals, this is called biophilia; however, education and the environment in one way or another modify the behavior of young people towards other species; he can be respectful, indifferent or aggressive. On the other hand, there are studies that lead us to believe that building respect and relationship with animals also helps us maintain positive relationships with others. Authors like Serpell (1999) claim that the presence of animals strengthens in us the attitude of attention, care, companionship, safety, comfort and pleasure.
What is clear is that the child-animal relationship creates an opportunity for emotional expression without any negative consequences.
Do you want to encourage empathy for animals in your children?
If you love animals and want to share the house with them, great, but you don’t have to have a pet for your kids to develop love for them. And it’s not enough to have them at home, you have to teach them. Just having them at home does not guarantee that they will be looked after by your children. If you are interested, you can follow these steps:
1. I know your model
It is the most important. Always remember that children have a great capacity to learn everything that is going on in their day to day life. You must be his role model in this area as in all important things in life. Just as you see you treat animals, so will they. Speak well in your presence, do not shout or punish the animals. Your children need to see that you respect them.
2. Read animal stories
Encouraging reading in children is very beneficialAnd if we use books on animals, we will achieve two valuable goals: that they read and learn about them. It’s important to choose the right book for your age and share the moment with them. It is important to read the book together, as there may be many questions that need to be answered.
I leave you with some examples of books: Animal Rescue (Patrick George), Save the Animals (Frances Barry), One Thing (Celeste Sánchez Demare).
3. Visit a nearby shelter
You surely have protectors near your locality. You can make an appointment for the little ones to see the refuge and observe how the abandoned animals live. You can also attend the conferences offered by the protectors, Or suggest that you explain to your children some topics that you think they have the most doubts about.
4. Share discussions with them
The animal world is very large and has a lot to know. Pick a specific topic to start talking. The needs of pets, abandonment, how protectors, zoos help … etc. If there are topics you are unfamiliar with, it is important that you educate yourself first so that you can answer their questions properly.