Our human brains are prone to assuming negative intent when something happens that bothers us. We believe that it is a pre-meditated infraction, and our amygdala reacts and responds accordingly.
It happened this week at my summer program. One of the kids came to me saying that another kid had pushed him on the dirt pile. In seeking the rest of the story, the other child reported that the first child had thrown his flip-flops at him, and so he retaliated.
As it turned out, the first child only wanted to return the flip-flops to the child who had misplaced them and was trying to help. In assuming negative intent, there was a negative outcome that needn’t have been. So we talked through how assuming something doesn’t always make it the actual truth, throwing things isn’t the best way to return them, and pushing someone is an unacceptable solution to any problem.
An important skill for kids, and for all of us, is to try to look for misunderstanding and positive intent in most interactions before we jump to judge and create a problem where none really existed.
Leave a Reply