Knowing the difference between sympathy and empathy can make all of the difference.
As a child therapist, the most common complaint I hear from parents is, “He just won't talk to me." Feeling estranged from your own child is painful, and it has implications for the child. Research indicates the most important predictor of a child's emotional and psychological stability is the closeness of the parent/child relationship. If a child is not opening up when they are upset, the relationship may not as close as it needs to be.
There are two habits that parents' routinely engage in that shut down communication and drive a child away: negating feelings and mistaking sympathy for empathy.
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