Perspective-taking is a skill that helps us become more adept at recognizing what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes, to understand what others think and feel. It includes empathy but goes far beyond it.

How is it possible that different people react differently to the same facts or situations? Furthermore, how is it that we look at the same thing in a completely different way as time passes by and we have different experiences? It’s because of perspective.

Though abstract, perspective is the only answer to our questions about understanding people. Stephen Covey got it right when he said, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”.

Perspective helps us stay calm and sort things out when things go awry. It gives us the ability to look beyond the problem rather than obsess over it. This is why we are far better at solving others’ problems rather than our own. When things are related to us our perspectives and judgments get clouded.

We might often find ourselves losing our temper and peace at home over the smallest of issues. A lack of perspective is probably a cause for this. Practicing ‘perspective taking’ and teaching it by example (living it) would help sort things out the right way – and also get children to be responsible, broadminded, and understanding.

Children see what children do! Children who become more adept at perspective-taking are more likely to succeed in school because they are more skilled at understanding and interpreting teachers’ expectations. They are less influenced by peer pressure because they learn to respect their own perspectives since they are given the freedom to do so at home.

When children can understand how their actions affect others, they are less likely to be hurtful. Another way to teach them would be by tuning into the child but not giving into them. This can be done by getting them to understand situations and decisions rather than bluntly forcing things on them or giving in to all of their demands.

Therefore, perspective-taking could possibly be one of the most important skills to have as a parent and something we should teach our kids too.