As a child, you may have heard the saying “put yourself in their shoes” when faced with an argument.
Well, a new study conducted by North Carolina State University confirmed this old adage and found that teaching children how to understand other viewpoints may allow them to learn forgiveness more easily.
The study included one hundred and eighty-five children, all between five and fourteen years old.
First, the children were interviewed while researchers gathered background information and assessed each child’s “theory of mind.”
Theory of mind refers to the ability to recognize that other people have different beliefs, desires, and intentions than your own.
After the interviews, the children were then placed into different scenarios. Each child was either considered “in the group” or “out of the group.”
Then, after each scenario played out, the children were asked if they would forgive the group that excluded them from an activity or game.
The study’s findings are fascinating. First, the researchers found that if a child is apologized to, that child is more likely to forgive the group.
Next, children are more apt to forgive children in a group rather than individually. And, finally, children with an advanced set of theory of mind skills are much more likely to forgive other children.