Mirroring Monday – Overheard 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 Cindy Smolkin. Enjoy!

I love working with the families I work with. Their courage, openness, love for their children and persistent dedication do not cease to inspire and energize me. It is so exciting to coach parents and to work together in our sessions. But today’s Mirroring Monday is not examples of the stories clients have reported to me in my office, nor are they examples of my own parenting experiences; instead they are simple “live” examples of how mirroring works:

A few weeks ago I was on the phone with a mother organizing appointment times when I heard the sounds of an unhappy child in the background. Raised voice, intensity and frustration were permeating the backdrop. I said to the mom, “Someone is really not happy.” And her answer was, with obvious intent for this to be heard by her tantruming daughter, “Yes. Well, K. really wanted a banana and when she took the last one we had, it was so bruised, and mushy and really gross. And who on earth would want to eat a banana like that, which is all just so annoying because she was in such a mood for a delicious banana and this one is so not delicious.” And then…silence. Complete and utter quiet from K. in the background.

Again a few weeks ago, I was sitting in a school office awaiting an appointment with a vice principal. Lunch recess was wrapping up and the students were making their way back into class. A girl of about 11, accompanied by her caring friend, came into the office crying. The secretary, who had been hard at work on her computer, turned to the crying student, bent down, took off her glasses and said, “Oh no. What happened?” The student proceeded to explain that she had fallen in the yard and hurt her knee, to which the secretary responded with a most compassionate, “Oh no. That is not fun at all.” To which the student continued by saying that on her way in to the office she tripped and fell on the same injured knee, to which the secretary replied, “No. The same knee? Really? Oh my, you are a wreck. Sit down and let’s tend to this. This was so not your recess!” To which the student replied with a giggle.

And finally, this example goes several years back and I often remind my friend of this simple story. I was at my friend’s house for dinner, her three children were in the basement. At some point the quiet calm of three siblings getting along took a turn and was replaced with raised voices, arguing and banging. Her middle child came upstairs and said (well, not really “said”, more like really whined), “S. keeps standing in front of the television and I am trying to watch my show.” I was fully prepared for my friend to go into some sort of lecture about how they need to work it out on their own, about how they have to try to get along better or to simply yell down to her eldest child to stop bothering her sister. Instead, my friend said to her daughter, with absolute compassion, “Ughh. That’s so annoying. I hate it when someone does something like that to me.” And that was it. Her daughter simply said “yeah”. She was completely satisfied that her mother “got” her frustration and that is really all she needed.

* 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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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."
—Gabor Maté, M.D.

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