MZANSI children who learn aggressive behaviour such as bullying, disrespect and intolerance find it difficult to learn.

Cindy Glass, co-founder and owner of Step Up Education Centres, said aggression turns education into an experience of distrust, anxiety, stress and misery.

“Negative human behaviour and relationships destroys our ability to learn and empathise.

“Empathy allows children to understand what another is experiencing, emotionally and intellectually. It teaches us kindness and compassion.”

How to teach your child to become more empathetic:

- As a parent, you are your child’s first and longest lasting teacher. This means your child is more likely to do what you do, rather than what you say. It is up to you to expect your child to care about others.

- Teach your children to express themselves in a positive way. If they are upset, teach them to express the feelings they are experiencing in words so that a positive solution can be found. Allow uncomfortable conversations that need to be expressed.

- Teach your child to allow others to express their feelings in the same way. This leads to listening skills. Teach your child to learn to listen to understand the other person without the need for defensive interruptions or responses.

- Make the effort to create a meaningful, face-to-face connection with your children. Social media has desensitised us in so many ways that meaningful, wholehearted human relationships are becoming rare. People break up and make up over the phone.

Most arguments and hurtful words are caused by misunderstanding of messages sent over devices. Nothing can replace a positive, face-to-face human connection.

- Teach your children to value themselves, their strengths and their weaknesses. Teach them of their worthiness to love and be loved. Teach them the value of each human being walking the earth with them – do we not all share the same human spirit?