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What is the secret to building a healthy relationship? Roman Krznaric’s answer is EMPATHY. Roman has spent years studying empathy and the current empathy deficit the world is facing. Whether you are trying to help your toddler through a tantrum or connect with an emotional teenager, empathy is the key to unlock a realm of understanding and patience between you and those around you. Kids In The House interviewed Roman to learn the “Platinum Rule” of how to become empathic and how to raise empathic children.

Most of us have heard of the “Golden Rule,” in which we were taught to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. However, Roman explains that to be truly empathic we need encourage the “Platinum Rule” which is to “Do unto others as they would have us do unto them.” We all come from different backgrounds and have different needs and it’s important to understand this as we build relationships with one another. True empathy lies in the ability to step into another person’s shoes and treat them in a respectful and understanding manner that is unique to their circumstances.

In Roman’s book Empathy: Why It Matters, and How to Get It, he emphasizes six habits of empathic people.

1. Switch on Your Empathic Brain​-Recognize how important empathy is to your relationships and that you can continually become more empathic.
2. Make the Imaginative Leap-Make a conscious effort every day to step into other people’s shoes.
3. Seek Experiential Adventures-Explore different lives and cultures through complete immersion into that setting.
4. Practice the Craft of Conversation-Talk with strangers and take time to listen to their stories.
5. Travel in Your Armchair-Understand other people’s minds through the help of art, literature, film and online social networks.
6. Inspire a Revolution-Generate empathy on a mass scale to create social change.

These habits enable adults and children to better understand themselves and the world around them. “Empathy is something that doesn’t just make you good, it’s good for you too,” says Roman. “The great power of empathy is that it is the cornerstone of healthy relationships… without empathy, we are emotionally tone deaf.”

Roman also encourages parents to be empathic listeners with their children and be models of empathy. “Don’t tell your children to be more empathic, show them how to do it,” he says. “And children learn to do this from their earliest infancy.” So the next time your child starts throwing a tantrum, don’t ignore them or start yelling at them. Simply listen to them, validate their feelings, and help them work through the emotions they are going through. This will not only help them calm down, but it will create a foundation of understanding and trust with them. “I think empathy is ultimately what makes the human bonds that make life worth living,” says Roman. 

Do you have more questions for Roman? Join us on Thursday at 12:30pm PST for a special #KITHangout “EMPATHY: Stepping Into A Revolution” and Roman will be answering your questions live! Click here to RSVP and ask your questions!

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Do you have questions you want to ask our experts?

Join us Thursday, March 5th at 12:30pm PST for “EMPATHY: Stepping Into A Revolution” a Google Hangout hosted by Kids In The House. Empathy expert Roman Krznaric will be answering your questions live. Start tweeting your questions with the hashtag #KITHangout!

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