2015 | 5 | 2 | 109-121
Article title

Empathic parenting and child development

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Our experience of the world and life is associated with our sense of ‘self’, which begins to grow in the preverbal period through the child’s primary relationships with his/her parents. Such relationships should be optimal and full of true, genuine and deep contact, marked with a parent’s empathic responsiveness. Empathic parents encourage positive development, while lack of empathy is many times associated with dysfunctional patterns of behaviour in later life. Empathy is a critical factor for the healthy development of a child, especially for the growth of a creative and genuine sense of ‘self’, which in adulthood is essential for a healthy and vibrant personality, one who is capable of coping with life and living empathic relationships. Empathy in the narrowest sense of the word is the ability to share and comprehend the feelings and thoughts of another, e.g. the ability to have insight into experiencing. In a broader sense, it is the basic dynamics of relationships that fully enable us to feel safe and accepted with others and thereby give us space for growth and development.
  • University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
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