Compassion Deficit Disorder

  • March 10, 2017

Many teachers tell me they spend too much time trying to maintain a sense of safety in their classrooms and admit to resorting to more “time outs” and harsher “discipline techniques” than in the past. While learning how to interact in positive ways is a vital developmental task of early childhood, children seem to have more trouble getting involved with group activities or sharing materials. Teachers also say they are seeing younger children exhibit the kind of bullying and teasing that used to be characteristic of older children. Children get teased, ridiculed, and rejected for not looking right or not having the right logos on their lunchboxes or clothes. And, an apparent increase in antisocial behavior has led some schools to abolish recess because children are being aggressive and hurting each other on the playground (Zimmerman, et al., 2005).

What is going on? Why are teachers reporting these social problems? How did things get this way? What is causing some children to develop social behavior disturbances that I have come to characterize as “Compassion Deficit Disorder”?

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