Responding with Empathy as a Parent

Meet Ashley, mother behind the blog That Bohemian Mama! Ashely is from Mishigan and is a mother to daughters, Shiloh and Eloise. She’s passionate about water birth and hippie, barefoot lifestyle. We asked her to share with us her thoughts about what it is to shape a kinder future. Here’s what she had to say:

“Empathy” has seemed to be a word that has hovered over my mind this year (as well as the word “grace.” The two tend to go hand in hand for me).

I want so deeply and fiercely to raise my children to be kind, empathetic, loving, and forgiving human beings. Our children learn so much from watching us and listening to us (I often compare kids to sponges in the sense that they truly soak up and absorb information around them). A ___ for me has been to first address my children with empathy:

Their tantrums.

Their over-tiredness.

Their seemingly dramatic emotional mess about apple slices that are spilled on the floor because they dumped them out.

Insert whatever scenario – I want to respond with empathy, love, and grace. I want to understand that to them, it’s a BIG deal, even if it’s not a big deal to me. I want to connect on an emotional level with them before I try and reason or lovingly discipline them. When I am integrated with my child’s brain, we both respond so much better to one another.

Ruben’s Barn’s Dolls help teach my daughter empathy – I know they do because she will walk around with her dolls talking with them, just like I talk to her. She is developing such great social skills through dolls – learning to talk to and treat them kindly.

I encourage you to respond to your children first with empathy, and see how much of a difference it makes in the way you discipline and guide them!

If you got inspired by Ashley, like we did, follow her at @thatbohemianmama to connect with her!

For more empathy exercises for your child(ren) this Christmas, click HERE.


We would love to hear how you teach or plan to teach empathy and kindness to your child(ren)! Share your thoughts on Instagram OR Facebook by the 24th of December. We will select 1 winner on the 3rd of January 2019 who will receive a Rubens Barn of their choice!


We will be sharing some of our favourite stories from you on our Instagram and Facebook. All you need to do is:

Post a photo of your child (ren) with their Rubens Barn. Add a short text about how you teach empathy to your child(ren). Hashtag #shapingakinderfuture!

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