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How do you develop compassion and empathy in teenagers?
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How do you develop compassion and empathy in teenagers?

I've noticed that there are some teenagers who seem to lack compassion for others.  It doesn't seem to matter if the teenager comes from a wealthy, poor, Christian, Jewish, or whatever type of home.  No home seems immune from this.

I once worked in a nursing home and saw teenage nurse’s aides treating the patients very rough.  I don't think they cared about these people who could have been their grandparents.  

I've overheard teenagers making fun of people with disabilities or over-weight people.  

It saddens me to see this from young people.

I know that there are teenagers that are very compassionate and kind teenagers so it's not ALL teenagers, however it does seem like there are plenty of mean spirited kids ariound.

How do parents raise compassionate child vs a selfish, narcissistic child?




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it isn't easy, especially nowadays, i think.  the cultural emphasis is on money and looks, not people and relationships.  you should encourage your young children to help with chores (mom is a person who needs help), help with younger siblings (those more vulnerable), and a pet is always a good lesson (although a lot of work for mom!).  there is always required volunteer time.  when i was a teen, my catholic h.s. required volunteer hours each year, which i completed at a center for the deaf.  my oldest daughter will start that at her h.s. next year (still required!).  before christmas, we go through their things and pack up gently used toys and clothes for donations.  we buy one extra coat for a girl their age each year and donate it to the womens shelter.  they pick it out.  it is important for them to know that just because they have nice things doesn't mean they are superior to anyone else.  
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You have to start teaching them at a very early age about compassion.

We did exactly what alikat did, and donated the kids clothes and toys to the homeless shelter. And every Christmas they each purchased a toy for the "Toys for Tots" program. Once they started working and earning their own money, they continued on their own to follow this tradition and still do to this day.

My kids were raised in a family with a medical back ground and saw from a very early age that not all people are alike and that many suffer with diseases, disabilities, and deformities.

They attended a pre-school that was on the hospital grounds and they were given the opportunity to visit the "grandma's and grandpa's" that were in the convalescent part of the hospital. They loved being able to make a drawing or a painting and giving it to someone who was sick, because they saw how it put a smile on the their face.

If I did anything right with my two, it was to teach them about compassion. They are both very compassionate individuals, and they also have a great sense of humor, which I also think is very important.


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518031_tn?1295578974
the kids of today really dont care for others.. i have 3 grown children and feel very lucky how they treat other people. i have seen them take up for other kids when they were younger, ones that would get picked on at the bus stop, or ones that maybe werent real good at agame they were playing.. so i am proud they are like that because they do have compasion and empathy for other people.. not sure what we did right but it worked
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599954_tn?1227497585
Thank goodness I have two very compassionate children..Almost is scarey because there are some people who take advantage of them..they are still learning how to deal with the greedy who try to take advantage.

My children have always been around the family and we all have big hearts.
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518031_tn?1295578974
mirabella i think you mentioned the secert word to all if this.....family...
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599954_tn?1227497585
Maybe your right...Family is everything to us.  

I remember my grandmother cooking dinner for 20 of us...and saying the more the merrier.  Make sure we cook enough in case others are hungry when they show up.

Inviting the homeless...we would cook all day to feed the hungry. Brings tears to my eyes.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks all for your advice.  

I guess what I am really wondering is how do you help a teenager become more compassionate?  Not sure if there is a secret or not.  Sometimes I wonder if some people are just born to be more compassionate then other people.  I don't have any children so I can't ask them to give up gently used toys/clothing or buy gifts for kids that won't get a Christmas.

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Avatar_f_tn
i do think some are more compassionate than others.  i think reminding is good. always ask, how do you feel? how do think this would make someone else feel?
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Avatar_f_tn
Good idea alikat1205.  There are a few teenagers in my life (one nephew in particular) that I would like to have some impact on.  He is very spoiled and just doesn't get not everyone gets what they want.  It seems like he has no feeling for other people whatsoever.  
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518031_tn?1295578974
sadly mayflowers.. some parents give their children everything they ask for and even things they dont ask for..the kids have no idea that there maybe someone they go to school with goes to bed without dinner.. have parents tht dont care about them.. all they know is life i good for me. and i blame the parents.. kids need to be taught that life is not all roses and that there are people that need our compassion and help.. like you siad mayne buying some things for toys for tots, or turning in slighlty used jacdkets coats gloves .. i think if kids had to do that plus have them deliver the things then they will see that there are people alot worst off then themselves...sorry got on a soap box for a minute
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