SlideShare a Scribd company logo
1 of 2
Download to read offline
24 	 June 2015
The Power of Empathy
Dealing with Behavior Issues
As a School Social Worker,
I have witnessed more
and more kids whose behav-
iors are causing their caregiv-
ers and themselves a great deal
of stress. As I eased into my
own parenting I realized that I
wanted to do things differently.
I started to make an interesting
observation: Some parents/ed-
ucators handle really challeng-
ing children with ease, while
others struggle. I used to think
some kids are “easy” and others
are “not easy,” but I knew there
had to be more to it than that. I
then wondered: Do some care-
givers just have a natural talent
for getting certain children to
behave or is there a set of skills
that certain adults use? I began
to explore Love and Logic and
started to learn that the one
common element that seems
to truly separate successful
from unsuccessful caregivers
is HOW they engage children.
Successful, calm caregivers de-
liver a strong dose of genuine
empathy, regardless of the situ-
ation. Their verbal and non-
verbal message is: “I care about
you, regardless of your behav-
ior.” According to Carl Rogers
(1957), empathy is the most
powerful technique for helping
others. Empathy does some-
thing fascinating to the human
brain, which we will explore.
	 Recent brain research ex-
plains why empathy is so
powerful. We are always
learning a lot about the hu-
man brain. This is what we
know so far: There is a part of
the brain, the frontal cortex,
where higher-order learn-
ing, reasoning, and impulse
control takes place. Another
part of the brain is referred
to as the brainstem, where in-
voluntary functions are regu-
lated, such as heart rate and
breathing. It is also respon-
sible for “fight-flight-freeze”
responses. A third part of the
brain, the amygdala, is the
brain’s threat detector. The
amygdala is the gatekeeper. It
helps us determine if some-
thing seems “safe.” All input
passes through the amygdala
and, once it is deemed safe,
it gets passed on. “Hostile”
input gets intercepted and
sent back to “survival” mode,
the brain stem. When people
are exposed to threat, stress
hormones are released into
the bloodstream. These hor-
mones shut down the frontal
cortex (higher-order think-
ing) while triggering the brain
stem’s fight-flight-freeze re-
sponses. Most people cannot
reason well or operate in brain
stem mode because they are in
survival mode. While in this
mode, people are more likely
to yell, scream, hit or run.
The Brain cannot function in
survival mode and thinking
mode simultaneously. This is
why rage and reasoning are
mutually exclusive. Empathy
tells the amygdala to shut off
the threat detection and con-
fuses the brain into “thinking
mode”, which then allows the
person to think, reason and
control impulses.
	Empathy prevents fight-
flight-freeze response! When
caregivers deliver a strong
dose of genuine empathy it
makes the child feel safe and
calms the nervous system.
	 The power of empathy is in-
credible. In fact, you may be
surprised to find out that when
you offer genuine empathy to a
person in distress, you will al-
most always experience success.
Take the following example.
	 Leah comes home from school
complaining that her teacher is
“Soooo mean!! She made me
stay inside for recess because
I didn’t have my homework!
I can’t sit so long without a
break!” My automatic response
may be that of a rescuer: “That
Mrs. Cohen! I have to call her!
She has no business interfering
with what goes on in our home!
And to take away recess!! That
is NOT an appropriate con-
sequence! Actually, I’m going
straight to the principal! He
needs to run his school better!”
	 Another response may look
like this: “Well, you deserve
it! I tell you every night to do
your homework but all you
want to do is hang out with
your friends!! In real life, work
first then play! When will you
learn to be more organized…re-
sponsible…focused…with your
schoolwork??!!”
	 Both of these responses ac-
complish one thing. They both
send a message: You are not
mature / intelligent enough to
figure out why your choices
aggravated your teacher. They
both reflect an adult becom-
ing tragically emotionally in-
By Yonina Kaufman, LMSW, M. Ed, SSW
EDUCATION
June 2015 25
volved instead of modeling
healthy self-regulation. What
can healthy self-regulation
look like?
	 Picture a different response:
“Wow, Leah (pause) that is so
upsetting. I know how much
you enjoy being outdoors in the
spring. You even mentioned that
you finally feel like you’re getting
better at jump-rope.”
	 How do you think Leah feels
right now? Does she feel at-
tacked? Does she feel incom-
petent? Or does she feel heard?
Is she angry at her mother for
judging her or is she calm
enough to think about her be-
havior and how it caused the
teacher’s response?
	 Miriam wakes up Shabbos
morning to find her children
happily playing in the kitchen...
on the floor in a puddle of cereal
and milk. (Let’s assume this has
happened before and her kids
understand that their mother
does not allow this.) Miriam
has a few choices. She can yell,
ignore or engage her kids in a
focused response to the inappro-
priate behavior. Of course some
of this will depend on the ages
and temperaments of her kids.
But let’s pretend they are 4 and
6. Watch this:
	 “Wow kids, this is soooo sad.
There’s a huge mess on the floor
and I was planning to take you
to the park until Abba gets
home from shul (calmly). What
should we do about this?” If her
kids are easy-going, she can help
them come up with a good way
to clean and she can even help
them. If her kids are more defi-
ant and respond like many kids
with “Nothing!” Then she can
again calmly say, “Yeah, this is
really sad. I hope we can come
up with a way to clean this so
we can get to the park before
Abba gets home.”
	 Again, this is not about
WHAT you say, it is more
about HOW you say it. Make
it work with your personality!
Some people try sounding bril-
liant, but that rarely works. Try
saying something like, “That
must have been so disappoint-
ing” “That must have been
hard” or “Awww.” The risk of
sarcasm is there...so be careful!
Remember the goal: to trick
the brain into Thinking Mode
by delivering genuine empathy.
Empathy is like
emotional oxygen.
	It allows our children to
feel, to emote and learn how
to express themselves in an
appropriate way. It gives them
permission to feel upset at
themselves for their choic-
es. Some people may think
this feels unnatural. Others
are concerned that it sounds
sarcastic. It is essential to re-
member that HOW you say
something is more important
than WHAT you actually say.
In fact, many successful care-
givers say as few words as pos-
sible, but their calm response
sends a powerful message.
	 Children naturally live up to
our unstated messages. Em-
pathy has the power to create
responsible children who see
themselves as strong and ca-
pable of making wise and ap-
propriate decisions.
	 Yonina Kaufman LMSW, is an MSW
graduate of New York University and an
MS graduate of Touro College certified
in Education and Special Education. She
is presently employed by the New York
City Department of Education servicing a
number of schools in the New York Met-
ropolitan area as a School Social Worker.
She has been working with teachers and
families since 2005. She uses the Love and
Logic framework to guide her work and
offers parenting courses for couples in a
group setting. In addition, she collaborates
with educators on improving classroom
management techniques and supports
students, educators, and administrators
on meeting the diverse social/emotional
needs of students and parents. Yonina
currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with her
husband and five children. To learn more
about Love and Logic or to reach Yonina,
feel free to contact her at: 917.535.2796.
EDUCATION
Themed, Custom
& Ready-Made
Gift Baskets to Fit
Your Budget
Accepting orders now!
All food products
carry a nationally
recognized kosher
certification.
Yachad Gifts
855.505.7500
or
info@yachadgifts.com
use discount code
B e A c H F u n
For 10% oFF
totAl order
Because Everyone Belongs

More Related Content

What's hot

Class 3: Integrative Parenting for Attachment Trauma
Class 3: Integrative Parenting for Attachment TraumaClass 3: Integrative Parenting for Attachment Trauma
Class 3: Integrative Parenting for Attachment Traumaatcnebraska
 
Emotion coaching introduction
Emotion coaching introductionEmotion coaching introduction
Emotion coaching introductionYanbin Kong
 
Class 4 Integrative Parenting for Attachment Trauma
Class 4 Integrative Parenting for Attachment TraumaClass 4 Integrative Parenting for Attachment Trauma
Class 4 Integrative Parenting for Attachment Traumaatcnebraska
 
Empathic Parenting - A Skills-Building Workshop
Empathic Parenting - A Skills-Building Workshop Empathic Parenting - A Skills-Building Workshop
Empathic Parenting - A Skills-Building Workshop Natasha Ufema
 
Calming_the_Explosive_Child.pdf
Calming_the_Explosive_Child.pdfCalming_the_Explosive_Child.pdf
Calming_the_Explosive_Child.pdfMartin Young
 
Emotionally Intelligent Parenting
Emotionally Intelligent ParentingEmotionally Intelligent Parenting
Emotionally Intelligent ParentingBin Goldman, PsyD
 
Disability is a natural part of the human experience
Disability is a natural part of the human experienceDisability is a natural part of the human experience
Disability is a natural part of the human experienceLubna Nawaz
 
The Power of Parental Iinfluence by Tim Chapman
The Power of Parental Iinfluence by Tim ChapmanThe Power of Parental Iinfluence by Tim Chapman
The Power of Parental Iinfluence by Tim Chapmanbkellaway
 
Getting to the root of difficult behaviors
Getting to the root of difficult behaviorsGetting to the root of difficult behaviors
Getting to the root of difficult behaviorsWilliam Sharp
 
Misbehavior or mistaken behavior
Misbehavior or mistaken behaviorMisbehavior or mistaken behavior
Misbehavior or mistaken behaviorKathleen Clark
 
Parenting Styles in Psychology
Parenting Styles in PsychologyParenting Styles in Psychology
Parenting Styles in PsychologyHelping Psychology
 
Transactional analysis - finding and using your adult ego state
Transactional analysis - finding and using your adult ego stateTransactional analysis - finding and using your adult ego state
Transactional analysis - finding and using your adult ego stateAsha Rao
 
Instructional fair presentation nelson
Instructional fair presentation nelsonInstructional fair presentation nelson
Instructional fair presentation nelsonNeil Nelson
 
Guiding Social Behaviors
Guiding Social BehaviorsGuiding Social Behaviors
Guiding Social Behaviorssower
 

What's hot (20)

Parenting
ParentingParenting
Parenting
 
Class 3: Integrative Parenting for Attachment Trauma
Class 3: Integrative Parenting for Attachment TraumaClass 3: Integrative Parenting for Attachment Trauma
Class 3: Integrative Parenting for Attachment Trauma
 
Emotion coaching introduction
Emotion coaching introductionEmotion coaching introduction
Emotion coaching introduction
 
Class 4 Integrative Parenting for Attachment Trauma
Class 4 Integrative Parenting for Attachment TraumaClass 4 Integrative Parenting for Attachment Trauma
Class 4 Integrative Parenting for Attachment Trauma
 
Empathic Parenting - A Skills-Building Workshop
Empathic Parenting - A Skills-Building Workshop Empathic Parenting - A Skills-Building Workshop
Empathic Parenting - A Skills-Building Workshop
 
Calming_the_Explosive_Child.pdf
Calming_the_Explosive_Child.pdfCalming_the_Explosive_Child.pdf
Calming_the_Explosive_Child.pdf
 
Child discipline
Child disciplineChild discipline
Child discipline
 
Fourndations of sel
Fourndations of selFourndations of sel
Fourndations of sel
 
Emotionally Intelligent Parenting
Emotionally Intelligent ParentingEmotionally Intelligent Parenting
Emotionally Intelligent Parenting
 
Disability is a natural part of the human experience
Disability is a natural part of the human experienceDisability is a natural part of the human experience
Disability is a natural part of the human experience
 
The Power of Parental Iinfluence by Tim Chapman
The Power of Parental Iinfluence by Tim ChapmanThe Power of Parental Iinfluence by Tim Chapman
The Power of Parental Iinfluence by Tim Chapman
 
Getting to the root of difficult behaviors
Getting to the root of difficult behaviorsGetting to the root of difficult behaviors
Getting to the root of difficult behaviors
 
Misbehavior or mistaken behavior
Misbehavior or mistaken behaviorMisbehavior or mistaken behavior
Misbehavior or mistaken behavior
 
Parenting Styles in Psychology
Parenting Styles in PsychologyParenting Styles in Psychology
Parenting Styles in Psychology
 
Attachment theory
Attachment theoryAttachment theory
Attachment theory
 
Chapter 1
Chapter 1Chapter 1
Chapter 1
 
Parent contamination
Parent contaminationParent contamination
Parent contamination
 
Transactional analysis - finding and using your adult ego state
Transactional analysis - finding and using your adult ego stateTransactional analysis - finding and using your adult ego state
Transactional analysis - finding and using your adult ego state
 
Instructional fair presentation nelson
Instructional fair presentation nelsonInstructional fair presentation nelson
Instructional fair presentation nelson
 
Guiding Social Behaviors
Guiding Social BehaviorsGuiding Social Behaviors
Guiding Social Behaviors
 

Similar to bb june page 24

UVA-OB-0744 This technical note was adapted by Pro.docx
UVA-OB-0744   This technical note was adapted by Pro.docxUVA-OB-0744   This technical note was adapted by Pro.docx
UVA-OB-0744 This technical note was adapted by Pro.docxjessiehampson
 
UVA-OB-0744 This technical note was adapted by Pro.docx
UVA-OB-0744   This technical note was adapted by Pro.docxUVA-OB-0744   This technical note was adapted by Pro.docx
UVA-OB-0744 This technical note was adapted by Pro.docxdickonsondorris
 
Sara Schwartz-Gluck - Beginning with the end
Sara Schwartz-Gluck - Beginning with the endSara Schwartz-Gluck - Beginning with the end
Sara Schwartz-Gluck - Beginning with the endSara Schwartz-Gluck
 
Depression in children and Adults by Anne Marete
Depression in children and Adults by Anne MareteDepression in children and Adults by Anne Marete
Depression in children and Adults by Anne MareteFredrick Kariuki
 
Parental Presence – Building foundations of change for our children
Parental Presence – Building foundations of change for our childrenParental Presence – Building foundations of change for our children
Parental Presence – Building foundations of change for our childrenJane mitchell
 
Social Psychology Individual Journal FNBE 0814
Social Psychology Individual Journal FNBE 0814Social Psychology Individual Journal FNBE 0814
Social Psychology Individual Journal FNBE 0814Zi Shan
 
Amy'sfinalcopy
Amy'sfinalcopyAmy'sfinalcopy
Amy'sfinalcopyamyrheath
 
Raising Toddlers Made Easy
Raising Toddlers Made EasyRaising Toddlers Made Easy
Raising Toddlers Made EasyHammad KF
 
Is it behavior or pathology presentation
Is it behavior or pathology presentationIs it behavior or pathology presentation
Is it behavior or pathology presentationmjoop79
 
Module 1 generic(2)
Module 1 generic(2)Module 1 generic(2)
Module 1 generic(2)laura fish
 
Module 1 Generic(2)
Module 1 Generic(2)Module 1 Generic(2)
Module 1 Generic(2)laura fish
 
The 5 W’s of Behaviour
The 5 W’s of BehaviourThe 5 W’s of Behaviour
The 5 W’s of BehaviourKaren Pennifold
 
Family and Kids Tips.pdf
Family and Kids Tips.pdfFamily and Kids Tips.pdf
Family and Kids Tips.pdfAwais Matloob
 

Similar to bb june page 24 (15)

Sep bb page 32
Sep bb page 32Sep bb page 32
Sep bb page 32
 
UVA-OB-0744 This technical note was adapted by Pro.docx
UVA-OB-0744   This technical note was adapted by Pro.docxUVA-OB-0744   This technical note was adapted by Pro.docx
UVA-OB-0744 This technical note was adapted by Pro.docx
 
UVA-OB-0744 This technical note was adapted by Pro.docx
UVA-OB-0744   This technical note was adapted by Pro.docxUVA-OB-0744   This technical note was adapted by Pro.docx
UVA-OB-0744 This technical note was adapted by Pro.docx
 
Sara Schwartz-Gluck - Beginning with the end
Sara Schwartz-Gluck - Beginning with the endSara Schwartz-Gluck - Beginning with the end
Sara Schwartz-Gluck - Beginning with the end
 
Depression in children and Adults by Anne Marete
Depression in children and Adults by Anne MareteDepression in children and Adults by Anne Marete
Depression in children and Adults by Anne Marete
 
Parental Presence – Building foundations of change for our children
Parental Presence – Building foundations of change for our childrenParental Presence – Building foundations of change for our children
Parental Presence – Building foundations of change for our children
 
Social Psychology Individual Journal FNBE 0814
Social Psychology Individual Journal FNBE 0814Social Psychology Individual Journal FNBE 0814
Social Psychology Individual Journal FNBE 0814
 
Amy'sfinalcopy
Amy'sfinalcopyAmy'sfinalcopy
Amy'sfinalcopy
 
Raising Toddlers Made Easy
Raising Toddlers Made EasyRaising Toddlers Made Easy
Raising Toddlers Made Easy
 
Is it behavior or pathology presentation
Is it behavior or pathology presentationIs it behavior or pathology presentation
Is it behavior or pathology presentation
 
Module 1 generic(2)
Module 1 generic(2)Module 1 generic(2)
Module 1 generic(2)
 
Module 1 Generic(2)
Module 1 Generic(2)Module 1 Generic(2)
Module 1 Generic(2)
 
Reentry Programs Essay
Reentry Programs EssayReentry Programs Essay
Reentry Programs Essay
 
The 5 W’s of Behaviour
The 5 W’s of BehaviourThe 5 W’s of Behaviour
The 5 W’s of Behaviour
 
Family and Kids Tips.pdf
Family and Kids Tips.pdfFamily and Kids Tips.pdf
Family and Kids Tips.pdf
 

bb june page 24

  • 1. 24 June 2015 The Power of Empathy Dealing with Behavior Issues As a School Social Worker, I have witnessed more and more kids whose behav- iors are causing their caregiv- ers and themselves a great deal of stress. As I eased into my own parenting I realized that I wanted to do things differently. I started to make an interesting observation: Some parents/ed- ucators handle really challeng- ing children with ease, while others struggle. I used to think some kids are “easy” and others are “not easy,” but I knew there had to be more to it than that. I then wondered: Do some care- givers just have a natural talent for getting certain children to behave or is there a set of skills that certain adults use? I began to explore Love and Logic and started to learn that the one common element that seems to truly separate successful from unsuccessful caregivers is HOW they engage children. Successful, calm caregivers de- liver a strong dose of genuine empathy, regardless of the situ- ation. Their verbal and non- verbal message is: “I care about you, regardless of your behav- ior.” According to Carl Rogers (1957), empathy is the most powerful technique for helping others. Empathy does some- thing fascinating to the human brain, which we will explore. Recent brain research ex- plains why empathy is so powerful. We are always learning a lot about the hu- man brain. This is what we know so far: There is a part of the brain, the frontal cortex, where higher-order learn- ing, reasoning, and impulse control takes place. Another part of the brain is referred to as the brainstem, where in- voluntary functions are regu- lated, such as heart rate and breathing. It is also respon- sible for “fight-flight-freeze” responses. A third part of the brain, the amygdala, is the brain’s threat detector. The amygdala is the gatekeeper. It helps us determine if some- thing seems “safe.” All input passes through the amygdala and, once it is deemed safe, it gets passed on. “Hostile” input gets intercepted and sent back to “survival” mode, the brain stem. When people are exposed to threat, stress hormones are released into the bloodstream. These hor- mones shut down the frontal cortex (higher-order think- ing) while triggering the brain stem’s fight-flight-freeze re- sponses. Most people cannot reason well or operate in brain stem mode because they are in survival mode. While in this mode, people are more likely to yell, scream, hit or run. The Brain cannot function in survival mode and thinking mode simultaneously. This is why rage and reasoning are mutually exclusive. Empathy tells the amygdala to shut off the threat detection and con- fuses the brain into “thinking mode”, which then allows the person to think, reason and control impulses. Empathy prevents fight- flight-freeze response! When caregivers deliver a strong dose of genuine empathy it makes the child feel safe and calms the nervous system. The power of empathy is in- credible. In fact, you may be surprised to find out that when you offer genuine empathy to a person in distress, you will al- most always experience success. Take the following example. Leah comes home from school complaining that her teacher is “Soooo mean!! She made me stay inside for recess because I didn’t have my homework! I can’t sit so long without a break!” My automatic response may be that of a rescuer: “That Mrs. Cohen! I have to call her! She has no business interfering with what goes on in our home! And to take away recess!! That is NOT an appropriate con- sequence! Actually, I’m going straight to the principal! He needs to run his school better!” Another response may look like this: “Well, you deserve it! I tell you every night to do your homework but all you want to do is hang out with your friends!! In real life, work first then play! When will you learn to be more organized…re- sponsible…focused…with your schoolwork??!!” Both of these responses ac- complish one thing. They both send a message: You are not mature / intelligent enough to figure out why your choices aggravated your teacher. They both reflect an adult becom- ing tragically emotionally in- By Yonina Kaufman, LMSW, M. Ed, SSW EDUCATION
  • 2. June 2015 25 volved instead of modeling healthy self-regulation. What can healthy self-regulation look like? Picture a different response: “Wow, Leah (pause) that is so upsetting. I know how much you enjoy being outdoors in the spring. You even mentioned that you finally feel like you’re getting better at jump-rope.” How do you think Leah feels right now? Does she feel at- tacked? Does she feel incom- petent? Or does she feel heard? Is she angry at her mother for judging her or is she calm enough to think about her be- havior and how it caused the teacher’s response? Miriam wakes up Shabbos morning to find her children happily playing in the kitchen... on the floor in a puddle of cereal and milk. (Let’s assume this has happened before and her kids understand that their mother does not allow this.) Miriam has a few choices. She can yell, ignore or engage her kids in a focused response to the inappro- priate behavior. Of course some of this will depend on the ages and temperaments of her kids. But let’s pretend they are 4 and 6. Watch this: “Wow kids, this is soooo sad. There’s a huge mess on the floor and I was planning to take you to the park until Abba gets home from shul (calmly). What should we do about this?” If her kids are easy-going, she can help them come up with a good way to clean and she can even help them. If her kids are more defi- ant and respond like many kids with “Nothing!” Then she can again calmly say, “Yeah, this is really sad. I hope we can come up with a way to clean this so we can get to the park before Abba gets home.” Again, this is not about WHAT you say, it is more about HOW you say it. Make it work with your personality! Some people try sounding bril- liant, but that rarely works. Try saying something like, “That must have been so disappoint- ing” “That must have been hard” or “Awww.” The risk of sarcasm is there...so be careful! Remember the goal: to trick the brain into Thinking Mode by delivering genuine empathy. Empathy is like emotional oxygen. It allows our children to feel, to emote and learn how to express themselves in an appropriate way. It gives them permission to feel upset at themselves for their choic- es. Some people may think this feels unnatural. Others are concerned that it sounds sarcastic. It is essential to re- member that HOW you say something is more important than WHAT you actually say. In fact, many successful care- givers say as few words as pos- sible, but their calm response sends a powerful message. Children naturally live up to our unstated messages. Em- pathy has the power to create responsible children who see themselves as strong and ca- pable of making wise and ap- propriate decisions. Yonina Kaufman LMSW, is an MSW graduate of New York University and an MS graduate of Touro College certified in Education and Special Education. She is presently employed by the New York City Department of Education servicing a number of schools in the New York Met- ropolitan area as a School Social Worker. She has been working with teachers and families since 2005. She uses the Love and Logic framework to guide her work and offers parenting courses for couples in a group setting. In addition, she collaborates with educators on improving classroom management techniques and supports students, educators, and administrators on meeting the diverse social/emotional needs of students and parents. Yonina currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and five children. To learn more about Love and Logic or to reach Yonina, feel free to contact her at: 917.535.2796. EDUCATION Themed, Custom & Ready-Made Gift Baskets to Fit Your Budget Accepting orders now! All food products carry a nationally recognized kosher certification. Yachad Gifts 855.505.7500 or info@yachadgifts.com use discount code B e A c H F u n For 10% oFF totAl order Because Everyone Belongs