Thursday, March 14, 2013

Teaching Empathy

We've been trying to teach Korbin about feelings since he first refused eye contact as a newborn. We show him the face he makes, verbalize what the feelings are labeled and their mean, make feeling faces with him, and let him know how his actions effect our feelings. It seems that he just doesn't have that internal compass to guide him through our strange emotional world. I wonder if he has the ability to even care about anything beyond his own needs. It scares me to my core.

Yesterday he wanted to play outside with the other kids.  He grabbed his folder of Pokemon cards that he earned one by one with good behavior and went out front. He was playing so calmly and happily with (or beside) another boy that I wasn't to worried about running inside for a little potty break.

When I came out the front door Korbin was walking up, without his folder. He said he gave it to the other boy because he didn't have any toys and was neglected. Not that Korbin really knows what it means to be neglected, but for a moment he seemed to understand that the other boy didn't have as much as he does. I encourage giving and want him to feel this urge to help, but did it have to be the carrot I've been dangling in front of my stubborn little ass? Come on! He has a room full of toys he rarely uses. Couldn't we give him a box full of those? Well, I shouldn't complain about any feelings of empathy. Now what am I going to use to get him in the tub and to pick up the Lego mine field in the living room?

I'm just not understanding why he would feel such compassion for this child he just met, yet he feels no remorse for attacking his own mother. During his behavior therapy time today we discussed ways of teaching empathy, but it was really nothing new. I know there is a good heart in my baby boy. He's really a sweet, loving child. Hopefully continually reminding him that he has feelings and so do we will sink in a little more deeply each time. I do worry about his future every day, but I've seen him improve every day for the last 12 1/2 years. I do know that he feels the support and love we give him as we choose every day to never give up. We can only hope that one day he connects those feelings of love from us into empathy for others.... even if it means giving away Pokemon cards.

No comments:

Post a Comment