My best advice is to never judge children for what they do; rather see them as forever students of life. Firstly, each person in this world has their existing strengths (those parts of life they have already developed skills to respond to) and their current areas of weakness (those parts of life they are yet to develop the skills to respond to).
A child is never mean — albeit they may use mean behaviours. But the bigger question is why?
Why could someone who at their core is an awesome, amazing lovable being have the capacity to use mean behaviours?
It’s simple, really. It’s because there are parts of life this person does not yet perceive they have the skills to respond to, thus the so-called mean behaviours are their way of reacting to what life is presenting.
Put differently, mean behaviour is simply a person communicating to us, “Adults, please listen — I would like support to learn how to respond to this part of life.”
Would the child benefit from learning skills to share, wait, listen in response to life not happening according to their picture, jealousy or a hurt that was triggered etc?
With this in mind, when your children are together, you could approach this as the ‘classroom of life’, while you and your friend embrace your roles as the ‘teachers of life’, thus supporting each other’s children to continually develop.
This article was originally published in the June 2018 Edition of Haven Magazine.