Sunday, June 1, 2014
Statement Analysis of Children
"Even a child is known by his doings, whether it be right or wrong...." said Solomon, more than a few years ago.
Question: Is it right to publish analysis of a statement made by a child?
I've read people criticize analysis in print of a teen or child who has made a statement. Somehow, in their thinking, it is not right to analyze; that is, to discover whether or not the child is truthful.
This is not the reality, however. Because:
If there is a quote in print, and you read it, you have an opinion on whether it is true or not.
It is hypocrisy to have an opinion, only to condemn another for expressing the opinion because it is about a statement made by a child.
If there is a quote in print, and a person reads it, the person will formulate an opinion on whether it is believed or not. In statement analysis, we give the reason for the belief, but everyone has a belief.
Interviewing children is a specialized skill and Statement Analysis is able to discern:
Did the statement come from memory?
If so, did it come from experiential memory?
Or, is the child entering the language of an adult?
I've interviewed more than two thousand children over the years. Each interview is a lesson within itself. Sometimes standard "book" guidelines fit, and sometimes they did not. Body language of children was all over the charts, impacted by everything from the weather to medications. The language was the best guide, and interviewing parents separately from children helped discern wording.
By the time a child is three, the first person pronouns are set in strongly as the child will not confuse "I" from "we"
Toddlers will err, at times, "him and her" but will do so consistently.
"Him scare me" speaking of a female teacher. This child will, at this young age, stay consistent in the masculine. This is sometimes heard in two year olds.
"My" and "me" are set in stone in the first few years of life. This is why the possessive pronoun is so incredibly accurate in analysis. "My" and "mine" come because we are possessive creatures by nature.
We own that which we own, but we do not own that which we do not own, and this is always accurate.
"My guilt" OJ Simpson, Patsy Ramsey, even while both attempting to deflect guilt. The instinctive pronoun "my" has been used since the earliest days of speech.
Interviewing children is a specific skill.
Child do lie.
Children can be coached and guided into almost anything, which is why great care must be placed upon the interview's flow, getting the child to choose his or her own language, and define his own words.
But when a child speaks, you will have an opinion on whether or not the child is truthful. Having an opinion, or a judgement, is inescapable.
Having an informed decision is a choice.