Eps 81: Making room for empathy with Melissa Benaroya

Today's guest is Melissa Benaroya. Melissa is a licensed clinical social worker with 20 years of experience working with children and families. Melissa has a Masters degree in Social Work, is a Credentialed School Counselor and is trained in Positive Discipline. She is also a Certified Gottman Educator offering the Bringing Baby Home Program for families with young children and workshops on Emotion Coaching. Melissa practices as a parenting consultant, coach and speaker to groups and individuals by blending her clinical training with her knowledge of child development and discipline. In 2011 she co-authored the book The Childproof Parent.

Melissa lives in Seattle with her husband and two children and keeps her sanity with an active lifestyle of running and Crossfit!

“Empathy is the ability to feel and understand what another person may be feeling but ultimately … it means connection … and feeling understood.”

What you’ll hear in this episode:

·      Learning to use empathy as a first response and a parenting tool

·      Empathy as reflecting your child’s feeling back to them versus owning their feelings or relating our own personal experiences

·      How using personal experiences in place of empathy can escalate conflict

·      How to use empathy to help your child build emotional resilience

·      Using empathy effectively to help your child feel heard

·      Empathy as a practice and a gradual learning process

·      Childhood developmental milestones in empathy

·      How to model empathy for your kids

·      Using the “Fake It Til You Become It” approach to empathy in your parenting

·      Being mindful of your physical self in how you demonstrate and model empathy

·      Parenting from the couch as a barrier to empathy

·      Echoing, mirroring and repetition as empathy

·      The power of validation in feeling heard – when looking on the bright side gets in the way

·      Empathy as a transferrable skill.


What does Joyful Courage mean to you?

It takes courage to take risks and try new things and that’s where joy exists. It’s what parenting requires of us – taking risks and trying new things. Empathy might be taking a risk because it doesn’t feel natural and we are going to have to take lots of risks and try new things throughout our parenting journey. It not only makes us a better parent but it also helps us to grow as an individual and that’s where the joy exists.


The Child-proof Parent
Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

Where to find Melissa:

Child-proof Parenting website


FEED 3,000


I would love to invite you to join me in making 3,000 snack sacks over the next three months and take them to organizations that serve the hungry!!

Not one of us can make all those lunches ourselves - BUT ALL OF US TOGETHER SURE CAN!!

So here is the plan, host a gathering at your house and invite other families over. Have each family bring some supplies and together make as many snack sacks as you can!!

Click here for the Feed 3,000 Facebook Event Link

Click her to go donate to the Feeding America page.


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