Would perspective" help stop your kids from fighting and promote peace in your home? Both research and our expert parenting author, Ellen Galinsky, say so. Ellen will show us how she used what we know as 'seeing the other person's point of view' (perspective) to help her children.
"I realized that if I was going to help my children learn to take each other's perspectives and be more friendly with each other, I was going to have to see the world as each of them saw it. To teach this skill, I needed to learn and use it myself.
For, example, my son used to get furious at his little sister. To my husband and me, his outbursts seemed like unexpected bolts of lightening-and he would get into trouble. Applying the notion of perspective taking, I decided to step back and watch my children, paying special attention to the scenes that led to an outburst. When I did, I discovered that my daughter wasn't the innocent victim I had assumed. She was doing subtle things to annoy her brother, like chewing with her mouth open.
I also could see that from her perspective, her behavior was a way of getting her big brother's attention. These clues had been invisible to me until I looked at the situation from each of their perspectives.
Later, during what we called "special time" (a family tradition of spending time alone with each child, usually at night), I explained to Philip what it must be like for Lara to have such a big and competent brother (though she was no slouch herself).
I told him to think of her teasing as quicksand. He had to look for it, avoid it-and never fall into it. He got it right away, and her subtle provocations had a lot less power.
I told Lara that I had warned Philip about the "traps" she was setting for him and that if she wanted her brother's attention, she didn't have to annoy him to get it. We began to plan times for them to do things together, and that helped too." Pages 73-74
Perspective, seeing the other's view, is a powerful tool to teach our children. Just asking questions like, "Why do you think he did that?" can help our kids see the other's perspective. Why not observe your children for how and why they annoy each other? Talk to them individually about seeing their brother or sister's perspective. Then ask them to come up with a solution.
Let's APPLAUD Ellen Galinsky for bringing this powerful parenting tool to us from her popular Amazon book, Mind in the Making.
What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for helping teens deal with grief? Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.
Jean Tracy, MSS
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