Still have questions?

Join Common Sense Media Plus for timely advice from a community of parents like you.

Join now

Back to topic overview

Character Strengths and Life Skills

What is empathy?

Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings and perspective of another person. Empathic people can put themselves in someone else's shoes. It also allows people to develop other caring character strengths, such as compassion and gratitude.

Empathy helps us build emotional attachments to other people -- including people we don't know. While kids naturally develop empathy toward siblings, relatives, and friends, empathy is critical to maintaining a healthy, productive, interconnected world.

You can help kids strengthen their empathy by providing emotional support for their feelings, sharing your own feelings, helping your kid understand others' perspectives, and watching movies and TV shows that show others' points of view.