The Web site io9.com has reported that techniques law enforcement personnel use to interview children can help in ordinary conversation with children, too.
The article identifies some forensic interviewing techniques that can readily be used in day-to-day situations. It also describes various studies that have illuminated pitfalls in gathering information from children.
Among the pieces of advice is to control one’s responses to what children say:
You should watch your own responses. You may not think you’re doing it, but smiling at a certain answer or giving a certain response may make the kid repeat the answer, in hopes of pleasing you.
Indeed, even professionals can unconsciously give cues to people they interview. That is one reason many police departments now have photo spreads presented to witnesses by officers who don’t know which of the photos depicts the suspect.
No comparable feature is possible in child forensic interviewing.