Campus: CSU Bakersfield -- April 24, 2002
CSU Bakersfield Professor Study on Helping Children
to Develop Emphathy
Helping children develop empathy encourages positive social development
and may be what keeps them from turning to a life of crime.
According to California State University, Bakersfield child development
professor, Cary Larson-McKay, a common characteristic found among criminals
exhibiting violent behavior is a lack of empathy. Studies also show
that developing empathy in young children is one way to help curtail
these negative acts.
As a way to help parents and teachers develop empathy in children, Larson-McKay
and the CSUB Child, Adolescent and Family Studies students are seeking
contributions for a book they're compiling called "The Kindness
of Children." The book will record and celebrate the many ways
in which children exhibit empathy such as showing concern for a sick
parent, sibling or animal.
"We want to help others learn how to help children develop empathy,"
Larson-McKay said. "We hope the book will be used as a toolbox
arsenal to teach parents and teachers how to reinforce or encourage
empathy. In order to do this, children need to be taught how to get
in someone else's place and see how events affect them."
Larson-McKay said she and her students undertook the project after the
shocking events at Columbine High School. As child development majors,
they wanted to investigate the causes of violent behavior in children
and develop a guide to assist others in combating the problem. They've
been compiling research and information since that time but need more
to complete the project.
Larson-McKay hopes to finish the book by the end of the year. She encourages
anyone with stories, pictures, poems, or audio or videotapes about a
child being kind to submit their material for inclusion in the book.
The information may be submitted in any multimedia form including electronic,
published books and journal articles. The information will also be placed
on the CSUB Child, Adolescent and Family Studies Program web-site.
Larson-McKay wants the book to be factual, informative and visually
"What I really want out of it is a coffee table book that's gorgeous
and slick and make people really want to look at it," she said.
Participation is voluntary and all requests for anonymity will be honored.
Each submission regarding a minor must include a release signed by the
adult responsible for the care of the minor.
For more information or to obtain a release form, please contact Cary
Larson-McKay, CSUB School of Education, 9001 Stockdale Highway, Bakersfield,
Calif. 93311-1099; or by phone at 661/664-3286.
CONTACT: Becky Zelinski, 661/664-2138, firstname.lastname@example.org;
or Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456, email@example.com