Mirroring Monday – Practicing Guitar Edition

Start the week off right with examples of mirroring from the team at Connected Parenting and share your own favorite mirroring moment in the comments below.

This week’s Mirroring Moment is from Barbara Miller. Enjoy!

A client was describing a situation with her 10 year old son regarding his reluctance to practice his guitar. This had been an ongoing struggle for some time. She wanted him to practice longer and he resisted, resulting in many unproductive power struggles and her threatening to cancel his lessons, which he still wanted to take.

Their conversation went something like this:

Mom: Steven it’s time to practice.

Steven: Aw Mom, can’t I do it after dinner.

Instead of feeding into the typical argument such as “these lessons are for you not me” or “we’ve been through this a million times!!” she tried an approach that involved mirroring.

Mom: Steven, you really don’t like practicing do you?

Steven: No…well not for as long as you want me to.

Mom: It would be so nice to pick up the guitar and play it like a rock star !

Steven: Yeah!

Mom: Don’t you hate it when learning something new can take so long…it really takes a long time to get really good doesn’t it.

Steven: Yeah…(nodding)

Mom: Yeah, it really takes a lot of patience and hard work, and I can see how much you love the sound of great guitar playing.

Mom: Steven, how long does your teacher want you to practice?

Steven: 15 minutes a day…not half an hour like you want me to!!!!

Mom: Well let’s try to figure out something that works for both of us. If I stop nagging you can you commit to practicing 15 minutes a day?

Steven: Yup!

Mom: Ok, you’ve got a deal.

The client reported that Steven did not change to love practicing his guitar but the power struggles decreased since he had bought into the plan and perceived it as a fair one. After their “mirroring conversation” he was willing to practice more readily and his mom felt less responsible for his practicing. She has also tried to remember to acknowledge his perseverance and patience rather than focusing primarily on the results of his playing.

* To find out more about mirroring and the CALM method, read the Connected Parenting book or book an appointment with one of our therapists.

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"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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