“Empathy is core to everything that makes society civilized, but above all, it makes our children better people, and that’s why I’m concerned.  In the past decades, our kids’ capacity to care has plummeted while self-absorption has skyrocketed, and puts their humanity at stake.  Today’s culture values “me” more than “we.”

Empathetic children use nine essential habits to help them navigate the emotional minefields and ethical challenges they will inevitable face in life.  These nine habits also guide their empathic urges and inspire them to help others.  And all nine are teachable and culled from the latest research in child development, neuroscience, and social psychology:

  1. Emotional literacy – to recognize and understand the feelings and needs of oneself and others.
  2. Moral identity – to adopt caring values that guide integrity and activate empathy to help others
  3. Perspective taking – to step into others’ shoes to understand another person’s feelings thoughts, and views
  4. Moral imagination – to be able to use literature, films, and emotionally charged images as a source of inspiration to feel with others
  5. Self-regulation – to manage strong emotions and reduce personal stress to be able to help others
  6. Practicing kindness – to increase concern about the welfare and feelings of others
  7. Collaboration – to work with others to achieve shared goals for the benefit of all
  8. Moral courage – to be emboldened to speak out, step up, and help others
  9. Altruistic leadership abilities – to be motivated to make a difference for others, no matter how small it may be”

(UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World, by Dr. Michele Borba)


“As a parent and educator, I understand why so many of us are worried about the impact of constant connectivity and self-focus our culture so often glorifies. But Michele Borba’s UnSelfie gives us such a powerful tool to counteract these seemingly overwhelming challenges. She has wonderful and practical ways to reconnect with our children and guide them so they can develop healthy relationships with others. And really her advice doesn’t only apply to our children–we would all do well to follow Borba’s advice.I hadn’t even finished it and I was already applying her wisdom to how I am raising my sons.” — Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes

“As the world increasingly values and rewards self-indulgent and narcissistic behavior, it has become more difficult to raise kind, empathetic kids. This is the first book I’ve read that provides clear, practical, research-based steps for for raising empathetic children. UnSelfie is an essential, enjoyable read for parents and educators, a book I plan to keep close at hand as I write, parent, and teach.” — Jessica Lahey, New York Times bestselling author of The Gift of Failure

“For children of every age, Michele Borba shows parents — and all caregivers– how a focus on empathy can build moral courage, kindness, teamwork, and self-regulation. She provides a gift to us all in guiding us in nurturing the best capabilities of our most precious resources and showing how natural it is for children to focus on the ‘we’ and not the ‘me.’

“Michele Borba masterfully empowers parents to nurture each child’s inherent goodness. This must-read book reminds us to keep our eyes on the real goal of parenting – building young people who will be the kind of caring, empathetic, contributing adults we hope them to be. If we want our children to THRIVE through good and challenging times we must never forget that it is their ability to reach out to –and give strength to – others that will make the difference. Here is a powerful book that will make a difference for our children today as we prepare them to be the kind of adults we need to lead our world tomorrow.” — Kenneth R. Ginsburg MD, MS Ed, Author of “Raising Kids to Thrive” and “Building Resilience in Children and Teens”

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