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"Instead of starting from the assumption that you have to beat the badness out of a child, turn on that empathy and compassion switch," says Dasher Kilter, professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of - it provides the basic tools for understanding the behavior and feelings of others.For instance, when dealing with a child who has hurt another person, help him or her "anchor how they felt in the moment," says Mary Gordon, founder of , a school-based program designed to foster compassion.: newborns cry when hearing another infant's cry, and studies have shown that children as young as 14 months offer unsolicited help to adults who appear to be struggling to reach something.Babies have also shown a distinct preference for adults who help rather than hinder others.But understanding suffering alone does not teach empathy, says Gordon, which helps explain why children who suffer more - enduring abuse at home, for instance - are more likely to become bullies.It's not that they don't know what it feels like to be hurt; it's that they have learned that violence is the way to express anger or assert power.Nearly 90% of brain growth takes place in the first five years of life, and the .
They became pioneers of democracy, art, theater and culture.
"In coaching that skill, we help them [take the perspective of] their classmates." To date, nine separate studies have shown that Roots of Empathy has helped reduce bullying at school, and increased supportive behavior among students. S., including New York City's, have recently expressed interest in using Gordon's approach.
Setting an Empathetic Example When parents treat other people with compassion, selflessness and a lack of judgment, children copy those behaviors.
Could parents have done more to curtail bad behavior?
Or could preventive measures have been started years ago, in early childhood, long before bullies emerged and started heaping abuse on their peers?
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