Photo: Gracia Lam

In the midst of Christmastime fast approaching, there is a serious topic that needs discussion.

So often, there is a self-centered mindset that comes with the Holiday Season. This is a trait particularly prominent in children.

Dr. Helen Riess, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says that the solution to this epidemic is simple: teach empathy.

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"Empathy... can be taught," Dr. Riess is quoted as saying. Her and her colleagues have found that each individual is found with a certain inheritance of neurons that allow them to forge an empathetic response. This trait is shown to be grown and fostered most during the individual's developmental years.

But then, how do we teach empathy? Dr. Riess says that the example shown by caregivers will resound with how developed a child's "empathy neurons" are.

Showing a child how to be empathetic is as simple as justifying your child's negative emotions (such as dissecting negative feelings for a peer) instead of passing judgement, or modeling sympathetic behavior (such as taking soup to an ailing neighbor).

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It all boils down to sharing feelings. After all, that's what the Christmas season is about.

Read more here.


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Colleen Leidner

Colleen Leidner is a student, writer & editor. When she's not frantically studying, she enjoys reading, being with her friends, and writing stories. A soccer mom to her five younger siblings, she lives in Stuart, FL, and aspires to write the next Great American Novel.

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