There is a fine line between sympathy and empathy. Learning the difference can make huge changes in your relationship with your child.
- Sympathy directs attention to how you feel.
- Empathy is about listening. It tells your child you are paying attention to how she feels.
- Sympathy is about me. Empathy is about you.
- Empathy has nothing to do with how you feel; it’s about understanding how the other feels given their circumstance.
Empathy and sympathy as metaphor:
Imagine a huge hole in the ground with Man A stuck at the bottom unable to escape. Man B walks nearby and hears Man A calling for help. Man B sees Man A at the bottom of the hole and jumps in to help. Now both are stuck at the bottom of the hole. Man C walks by and hears both A and C calling for help. Man C tells them he will be back soon. Later, Man C arrives with a ladder.
Man B acted out of sympathy for Man A and jumped in thinking he was helping Man A. Now both