Empathy Tuesday

A shout-out for Empathy today. Great short clip by RSA shorts and Brené Brown.

I’m also interested in looking at the roots of empathy in childhood. Two clips which I sometimes show my students are the “Still Face Experiment” and the “Emotional Baby”. In the “Still Face Experiment”, a mother initially reacts to her baby’s distress with a non-responsive face. She then comes alive again in the interaction and it’s a moving example of disruption and repair. The “Emotional Baby” video shows a baby crying in response to the emotion of the mother’s voice singing a moving song.

Our own ‘baby experiment’ is ongoing. Tessie is almost five months old now and is doing well. Both L and I are doing less well and are suffering from sleep-deprivation. Those night-time feeds are a killer (for L – I get to change a nappy and go back to bed). Tonight will be the first time I get to feed Tessie in the middle of the night (if she wakes up, which has become her norm now). I’m really not looking forward to that, but if it means that L gets some sleep then it will be worth it.

I suppose it does help that Tessie is a cute baby (aren’t all babies?) When she gives me one of those smiles then I can get over my need for sleep (at least for a while).


Which brings me round to this. If you don’t see me around the blog – commenting, reading, posting – then this is why. We’re hanging on.



3 Responses to Empathy Tuesday

  1. litlove says:

    I love the rug she is lying on! Empathy from early childhood is very interesting. I have this sneaking feeling that children with unreliable parents are forced into being more empathetic than those who feel secure in their parents’ care. The unreliable parent is the one whose mood has to be gauged. The responsive parent is one who understands you, requiring less work on the child’s part. I think in the case of unreliable parents, children can go one of two ways, either over-vigilant and tuned in, or rebelliously determined to be tuned out. But this is all speculation – I’ve got no real proof! Do hope the nighttime feeding went okay, btw, and that somewhere soon down the line you and L get a bit more sleep!

    • Pete says:

      Thanks Litlove – it’s her lion-mat. I largely agree with you about children and empathy. I think children with insecure attachments can end up over-empathising with others and not staying true to their own feelings. (It’s a debatable point about whether too much empathy is a bad thing.) But I will have to look at this in more detail.

      As for Tessie, the formula feeding has been pushed back a bit so I get to sleep a bit more 🙂 We’ve also started her on baby rice which seems to help with the sleeping. Here’s holding thumbs 🙂

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