Eps 46: Dr. Michele Borba and Why Empathy is the Antidote to the Selfie Culture

Welcome! My guest today is Dr. Michele Borba, a globally-recognized educational psychologist and parenting, bullying, and character expert. Her aim is to strengthen children’s empathy and resilience to break the cycle of youth violence. She has delivered keynotes and workshops to over 1 million participants on 5 continents and authored 24 books translated into 14 languages. Her latest book is out on June 7, and is titled Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World. Parents and educators will benefit greatly from Dr. Borba’s wisdom and insights. Join us!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Michele has experience as a special education teacher and working on school shooting prevention and bullying prevention programs.
  • Much of the world’s violence narrows down to the primary need of empathy.
  • What is empathy? The ability to “feel” with someone, to step in and understand where another person is coming from.
  • Empathy has emotional and cognitive components.
  • In researching her book, Michele learned from Holocaust rescuers that empathy was modeled for them by their parents, so it was natural for them to care about helping others.
  • In the last 30 years, empathy in children has dropped by 40%, while narcissism has increased by 58%.
  • Michele explains “The Selfie Syndrome” and how it kills empathy.
  • Michele shares the following about learning empathy:
    •       It’s a “womb-to-tomb” scenario, so you can start learning at any age.
    •       Children are hard-wired for empathy at birth.
    •       Infants go through the first step of empathy when they attach to their mothers.
    •       Around age 1, emotional literacy begins when a child understands another’s clues to sadness or hurt.
  • The problem today is that children are learning to tune in to digital devices and not to each other.
  • #1 Tip: Teach your child to look at the color of the eyes of the person speaking to learn to “tune in.”
  • Michele’s book teaches activities to cultivate empathy, to listen better, and to stand up to a bully.
  • How to teach children the A, B, C’s of recognizing stress
  • The “empathy gap” of overwhelmed kids
  • Many “self-regulation” techniques are recommended in the book.
  • Why we MUST teach coping strategies to our kids!
  • How to teach them to take care of someone else’s heart
  • Why saying “I’m sorry” is NOT the best option
  • Michele gives some baby steps that parents can take as a starting point to increase empathy in their kids.
  • “Think Big, Start Small”---choose ONE thing to do
  • Michele has “Bully Buster” techniques and skills in the book.
  • What does Joyful Courage mean to you? “Joyful Courage is the most wonderful concept you can imagine. Having courage brings real joy. We need to build kids from the inside out. It’s the real miracle point of your heart opening to another.”

Resources:

www.commonsensemedia.org

www.micheleborba.com

Find Dr. Borba on Facebook and Twitter and find her books on Amazon.com.

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