The Importance of Empathy


Mom showing empathy for her addicted son

The Importance of Empathy

This short article explains one of the most important (and one of our favorite) concepts. Dr. James Fay (Parenting Teens With Love and Logic) illustrates the simple approach–of showing empathy while remaining strong.

Consequences delivered with empathy

create responsibility.
Consequences delivered without empathy
create resentment.

So we have a choice: Will we raise responsible kids…or resentful ones?

Will we end up in a nice nursing home or a nasty one?

Understanding why empathy is the most important skill is simple. Empathy preserves the relationship and makes it very hard for our kids to blame us for their poor decisions.

Really using sincere empathy…on a consistent basis…is the hard part!

We’ve spent over two decades studying people who’ve been successful with this. What do they have in common? They use just one empathetic statement…regardless of what consequence they must provide.

That’s right. They keep it simple!

They also pick one that fits their personality and culture. Some folks always precede consequences with, “That is so sad.” Others prefer, “Oh, man…”

Some parents say, “What a bummer.” Others prefer, “Bless your heart.”

Tape this note on your bathroom mirror as a reminder.

Thanks for reading!
Dr. Charles Fay
Originally Published 7/15/09

Dr. Charles Fay©2009 Jim Fay, Charles Fay, Ph.D., and Love and Logic® Institute. All copyright infringement laws apply. Permission granted for photocopy reproduction and forwarding. Please do not alter or modify contents. For more information, call the Love and Logic® Institute, Inc. at (800) 338-4065 or

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