Mirroring Monday – Food Allergy Edition

Start the week off right with examples of mirroring from the team at Connected Parenting. If you’re new to Connected Parenting and want to find out more about mirroring and the CALM method, check out this podcast by Jennifer Kolari (courtesy of Penguin Group USA).

This week’s Mirroring Moment is from Kelly Parisa. Enjoy!

kellyparisaFood allergies are no fun, and often, as parents, we have to help our kids navigate through the management, frustrations, disappointments and lack of “fairness” associated with them.

A mom sent us the following:

Two and a half years after being diagnosed with peanut and tree nut allergy, my now five-year-old son has, for the first time, become quite upset about not being able to join in the festivities at a birthday celebration. We were celebrating the birthday of an adult relative by having dinner out. All was fine until dessert when a huge slice of cake was lit up and served at the table. I had brought a “safe” cupcake for my son but it had gotten somewhat smushed along the way and he wanted no part of it. He has always been stoic about missing out on treats that others are eating and only put up the smallest of fights about even his most desired foods if told they are unsafe. On this occasion, however, he was distraught. I felt guilty because I could have protected my son from feeling left out by controlling the food that was served. I know that I cannot always shield him from the disappointment and frustration of his allergy but I can’t help wanting to try. How can I help him with his feelings of isolation when I worry that his food allergies may cause him pain and angst throughout his life?

A mirroring moment might go something like this:

Oh my gosh! Your cupcake got all squished! And Uncle Bill’s cake, with all that frosting and those sparkiling candles looks so yummy and fun! Your cousins get to eat the cake, Mommy and Daddy and sister get to eat the cake, and you have to eat a squished cupcake! You don’t want to eat that squished cupcake. You want that big beautiful cake! How unfair!

Almost all the time you are so great about remembering and understanding about your allergy. And almost all the time you are a great sport and have the special treat that I bring for you on nights like this. But tonight, it just doesn’t seem fair and you are mad that your allergy makes you have to be different.

Honey, here’s the deal…Mommy and Daddy love you so very much, and we do everything we can to keep you happy and healthy and safe. We would never give you poison, and that’s what those off-limit foods are to your body. Yeah, it feels pretty stinky and unfair at times. But Mom and Dad love you enough to say, “no” to letting those foods hurt you.

You can be mad or sad about being the kid with the allergy, we will always listen to you. We are a little sad about it too, for you. But we have to be a team together to make sure you are safe and remember that no matter how yummy those other things might look, they can hurt you, and we would never want that to happen.

We love you Sweetie and promise to do all we can to take good care of you, and to try our best to make your treats yummy too.

Share your own favorite mirroring moment in the comments below. Or are you stumped? Feel free to leave a comment describing a situation you encountered where you couldn’t figure out how to mirror. We’ll try to incorporate it into a future Mirroring Monday post.

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Please remember that the advice given on this blog is not meant to replace medical advice or the direct advice of a mental health care professional.
"Connected Parenting advises us not just how to parent, but—far more important—who to be as parents. The therapeutic methods suggested by Jennifer Kolari are based not on simple-minded behavioural solutions, but on building warm, nurturing relationships with our children, with insight and compassion not only for their little flaws, but also for our own larger ones."
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