I have learned so much from watching her parent like a lawyer.
For example, when one of the kids came in the room crying because someone hit them or took their toy, Jeanne would pat her generous lap and say with the greatest concern and sincerity “Come here and tell me all about it.”
The child, hers, mine or whoevers, would climb up and tell their long stammering story of the terrible wrong they had just experienced.
She would curve herself around them saying “Yes”, “Oh My!”,” Ummmm hummmm”, until the child was finally satisfied that his or her story had been told in full.
Then she would ask in a very kind and concerned way “Is that it? Did you have anything more you wanted to tell me?” Once sure that the little one had said all they needed to say she would ask “Well what happened before that?” Some of the answers we have often heard are:
“Oh I hit him,” or “I took the toy away from him,” or “I took his cookie.”
If you just keep asking the question “Well what happened before that?,” and just let them talk, more times than not the kid will figure out how they might have contributed to the experience they have just had. You can actually see the little light bulb go on above their heads as the answers are coming out of them.
Sometimes the situation may require the added question of, “Well do you think they might have (fill in the blank) because you (fill in the blank)?” Bringing their attention and awareness to the situation in this new way teaches cause & effect, compassion, empathy and forethought.
Once kids learn to view their experiences from another persons perspective they are better able to navigate their way into healthy & respectful friendships.