(One minute read)
Sometimes I break my head (well, not literally) trying to figure out how to explain certain abstract social concepts to kids. Or how to get a kid to take the perspective of others.
A simple, yet powerful strategy is the “Un”Golden Rule.
Well, the Golden Rule is to treat others how you wish to be treated.
But what do you do about a child who is generally treated nicely (because their family members and friends are simply nice people) and they therefore never get a taste of the negative behaviors they do unto others? Say, the child constantly interrupts others but nobody interrupts them. Or the child takes people’s things without permission but nobody would ever take away their stuff.
So what is the The “Un”Golden Rule? The “Un”Golden Rule is to give them a taste of their own negative behaviors “in moderation for the sake of teaching perspective-taking skills.” The goal is NOT to take revenge but rather to get the child to feel the annoyance, upset, or frustration, and to be able to commit to working on it so that they don’t make others feel annoyed, upset, or frustrated.
The UnGolden Rule
Example: Interrupt the child until he realizes how much he doesn’t like it. Then have a conversation about how he feels when he is interrupted, how others might feel when they are interrupted, whom does he tend to interrupt, what can he do going forward, what reminders might he benefit from, etc.
Important Reminder: The goal is not to punish or take revenge. After using the strategy once, I prefer to remind the child about the time when I interrupted them or touched their stuff. Usually, that’s enough of a reminder. If it’s not enough, I continue breaking my head to find a different strategy that might work.
Have a kind and fun week!