Parents Magazine: 4 Signs Your Child is an Empath








Is Your Child an Empath?

As an empathic child, I received no support from my physician-parents about my sensitivities–not because they didn’t love me, but because they didn’t know what an empath was and were never taught how to understand my special needs. They wanted me to be happy, but they didn’t think encouraging my sensitivities would lead me there. They called me “overly sensitive” and said that I needed a “thicker skin.” These “helpful” comments made me believe there was something wrong with me. Because I felt misunderstood and invisible as an empathic child, I have become especially passionate about educating parents about raising their empathic children.

Knowing that your child is an empath is the first step toward bringing out the best in him or her. Then you can support your son’s and daughter’s sensitivities as an expression of their excellence, compassion, and depth. To determine if your child is an empath, take the following assessment from The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People.

Is Your Child an Empath?

  • Does he or she feel things deeply?
  • Does he or she get over-simulated by people, crowds, noise, or stress?
  • Does he or she have strong reactions to sad or frightening scenes in books or movies?
  • Does he or she want to escape and hide from family gatherings because there’s too much going on?
  • Does he or she feel “different” than other kids or complain about not fitting in?
  • Is he or she a good listener and compassionate with others?
  • Does he or she surprise you with intuitive comments about others or yourself?
  • Does he or she have a strong connection to nature, plants, animals, or stuffed animals?
  • Does he or she require a lot of time alone rather than playing with other kids?
  • Does he or she take on a friend’s stress or upset?
  • Does he or she take on your own or other people’s emotions or stress—and act out when you’re angry, upset or depressed?
  • Does he or she have one best friend or a few good friends rather then a large social network?
  • Here’s how to score this assessment. 10-12 yeses indicate this child has extremely strong empathic traits. 7-9 yeses indicates strong empathic traits. 4-6 yeses indicate moderate empathic traits. 1-3 yeses indicate some empathic traits. Zero yeses indicate that the child is not operating primarily as an empath.

    No matter where your child is on this spectrum, he or she would benefit from being taught to honor his or her specific sensitivities.


    Judith Orloff, MD is a New York Times bestselling author with the upcoming book The Genius of Empathy: Practical Skills to Heal Yourself, Your Relationships and the World (Foreword by the Dalai Lama). She has also written The Empath’s Survival Guide and Thriving as an Empath, which offers daily self-care tools for sensitive people. She integrates the pearls of conventional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, empathy, energy medicine, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice and online internationally. Her work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Oprah Magazine, the New York Times and USA Today. Dr. Orloff has spoken at Google-LA, TEDx U.S. and TEDx Asia. More information about Dr. Orloff’s Empathy Training Programs for businesses, The Empath Survival Guide Online Course and speaking schedule at

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