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Should older babies/toddlers react when other people cry?

(15 Posts)
ikeaismylocal Tue 11-Mar-14 19:47:17

Inspired by another thread. My ds is 14 months old and he doesn't cry or look concerned if other people (toddlers or adults) cry.

I was sure he was supposed to reflect emotions, but he doesn't seem bothered at all he just looks at the person crying and then continues what he was doing.

His social skills are great apart from this, he has some words, has pointed for a long time, he makes himself understood very easilly, he plays peekaboo, gives cuddles, points to noses and follows instructions.

Does he just lack empathy? should I be teaching him about emotions by looking at books or just accept that he's not a sensertive sort of guy?

NurseyWursey Tue 11-Mar-14 19:53:08

I don't think there's anything to worry about. It's usually around 12 months that babies learn to recognise and understand other people's emotional states, moreso sadness and distress. He's only 14 months so he's still learning and building on what he's seeing and hearing, and associating facial expressions and noises with emotions.

It's way too early to say he lacks empathy, that's a complex emotion for a 14 month old!

ikeaismylocal Tue 11-Mar-14 19:53:12

Should have been in development sorry!

Marne Tue 11-Mar-14 19:54:31

I think its quite normal for a 14 month old not to react to other peoples emotions. I don't think you have anything to worry about smile

NurseyWursey Tue 11-Mar-14 19:54:40

According to my Child Development book that I've skim read again, around 2 years old is when to expect displays of empathy smile

TheGreatHunt Tue 11-Mar-14 19:58:30

Nope. My ds is 4 and he notices emotions. My 2 year old also asks why people are crying and will try and cuddle if her brother gets upset. But that's because she sees me doing it so copies. I don't remember her brother doing the same until dd came along so he had someone to copy too.

PurplePidjin Tue 11-Mar-14 19:59:09

My 15mo looks a bit puzzled at the noise, looks at the other baby and might proffer whatever's in his hand (toy, biscuit) but I think it's something that'll come with time. He's got enough to learn about the world, I'll leave complicated stuff like empathy for when he has a bit of a grasp on his own feelings!

He's very good when reminded to use Kind Hands though, which I guess is the beginning of it?

callamia Tue 11-Mar-14 19:59:41

He's only just one - he definitely lacks empathy in so far as all children that aged would. He's still learning about emotions and appropriate responses, so don't worry about this. Empathy is built from experiencing others' and own emotions, but he needs to recognise them before he can really take on what it feels like for someone else to be sad/happy/whatever.

ikeaismylocal Tue 11-Mar-14 20:10:53

I'm glad to hear it isn't unusual! Ds has some little toddler friends who cry when they hear each other crying, they seemed to do it from a fairly young age, it's like they catch cry from each other.

Ds is a pretty "tough" boy, he doesn't often cry, he seems to shrug off injuries and upset pretty easilly so maybe it is just part of his personality.

Standinginline Tue 11-Mar-14 20:15:37

My son is 3 and last week when I was crying he found it more humorous than anything. Is that normal for a kid that age ? He's never seen anyone cry before only kids his own age and I think he gets that they're upset.

violator Tue 11-Mar-14 20:40:38

DS is 2.5 and at the moment is obsessed with 'happy' faces and 'sad' faces. He wants me to draw them, wants me to pull happy and sad faces and gives a running commentary at the TV about which characters are happy or sad.
I think 14 months is a bit young to grasp the concept of empathy.

KatyN Wed 12-Mar-14 06:47:42

My chap is 2.5 he cries when someone else is crying.... But only if it's a peer who is getting attention!! Them he'll suddenly decide he banged his leg as well (or whatever)!


Chipandspuds Wed 12-Mar-14 07:12:19

I'm not sure about the 'right ages' for showing empathy, but DS aged 6 months laughed hysterically at me on a few occasions when I was crying.

Now DS is 2 years old he looks very concerned if he sees me cry and will willingly come for a cuddle (he's not a cuddly type). The staff at nursery said if another child is crying he will either pat them on the back or go to an adult and point at the crying child to draw their attention to do something. Very cute smile

Mumof3xx Wed 12-Mar-14 07:14:18

My dd is 11 months

Last night her brother was told off and threw himself on the sofa sobbing

Dd stopped what she was doing, crawled over and pulled herself up at the sofa beside him

She might have just been being nosey but she did look a tad concerned lol

callamia Wed 12-Mar-14 08:07:20

That 'catching crying' is emotional contagion - I think it's possibly a precursor to learning about emotions and empathy, but it's more like an emotional reflex than anything that requires awareness or thought.

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