This morning P couldn't find his allowance. He thought N had taken it from where P left it and acused N of doing so. That got quite a fight going...
In the car we calmly discussed this. It became clear that there was a small chance that N might have taken P's money by mistake. I told P that, regardlesss of whether N had taken the money or not, or regardless of whether he had done it accidentaly or on purpose, P would be much better off if he took a non-confrontational approach. He could ask N, for example, if there was a chance that N took the money by mistake. That approach was more likely to generate N's cooperation rather than to put him in a defensive position (which an aggresive acusation obviously did). And, if it turned out that N didn't take the money, but that something else happened to it, P wouldn't have uneceseraily and unjustly offended N.
I told them how even when they were certain someone else had done something wrong (and done so intentionaly), they stood a much better chance of resolving the situation by giving the offender a "face saving" exit. For example, by saying "Bob, do you think you might have inadvertently taken my ball" instead of saying "Bob, I know you took my ball. Where is it?". Besides, even when we are "sure" someone did something, we are sometimes wrong...
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
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