Empathy Ends At Home

by The Momma on March 6, 2012

“OH NO! Sad Nemo!”–Upon seeing Nemo get hurt.

“OH NO! Sad baby!”–Upon hearing a baby cry in the grocery store.

“OH NO! Sad boy!”–Upon seeing a little boy in a book cry.

Crickets–Upon whacking mom in the face.

Crickets–Upon biting dad.

So I’m confused. Because the kid obviously gets SOME idea of empathy. He knows when characters, other kids, babies, and OTHER people are sad. But the Momma and the Daddy? Nothing. Understanding that his actions have hurt us? Nope, no clue.

Is it because he thrills at exacting his revenge for the humiliation of diaper changes? Is it his twisted way of making sure we know who’s REALLY the boss? Is he plotting to murder us in our sleep? All while commiserating with that poor sad Nemo?

I mean, look, I’d rather he feel empathy with at least SOME things than none. And if anything is to suffer, I guess I’d rather that it’s his dad and me instead of the “outside” world. At least we know he’s not a total psychopath.

But for our sakes, I have high hopes that he will, someday, feel bad for Momma and Daddy the way he feels bad for that damn animated fish.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa March 6, 2012 at 10:32 am

I have to say, empathy for the parents comes with some drawbacks though. Kinda. Olivia smacked me in the head with something and I told her she needed to come give me a hug because “you hurt Mama.” Cue ugly cry. The face turning down, crocodile tear cry. Obviously she felt badly for hurting me, and I felt like total shit for getting that reaction out of her.


Sheila March 7, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Maybe you should make a big, dramatic sad face and hold your boo-boo pathetically … you know, play it up so he knows you’re hurt and not just mad.

I’m not an expert because my kid hasn’t a sympathetic bone in his body. He just has no idea that other people are capable of having feelings. I guess that’s a milestone that’s coming up, hopefully.


clara March 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I think it’s something to do with separation…like at this age maybe J doesn’t know that you guys are separate from him. He’s still in that in-between stage where he’s part baby but wanting to be independent. So that thing over there is clearly different from him. Poor fish. But you? Are Mama. And it’s complicated. Is Mama separate or part of J? He’s not sure.

*I am not an expert and do not really remember this age at all. But this is my half assed theory.


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