Quite often, someone comes to us and tells us that someone else has done something to them. We listen intently, empathize with them and immediately take their side. Sometimes they want us to take action against the other person … perhaps punish them.
I learned early on with my children that when a child, or anyone else for that matter, comes to us with a problem, it is extremely important to get both sides of the story before drawing conclusions. It helps us see the bigger picture.
When we do take action it is important that rather than punish one side or the other, we strive for reconciliation. History has shown that punishment is not the best solution for changing behaviour. Get both parties together to talk. Face to face meetings have a way of calming the waters. If one person has mistreated another, we need to understand why. Perhaps there are extenuating circumstances. More importantly, they must know how the other person feels.
Remember, the goal is to ensure that everyone feels good about themselves. Whatever consequences the offending party faces, should not lessen their self esteem.
Whenever you’re faced with situations of this nature, always keep an open mind, and remember, there are two sides to every story.