Mirroring Monday – Perfectionist Artist 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 Kelly Parisa. Enjoy!

“I can’t do this! This is stupid!”

A second grader, a smart, perfectionist who wants and needs to get everything “just right,” was struggling with an art project, using pipe cleaners. He was mumbling and fussing and grumbling and obviously so frustrated up to that point.

I sat down next to him, “What’s up?”

“This is stupid! I can’t do this!”

“You can’t make this work at all…these pipe cleaners aren’t bending the way you want and it doesn’t look like the turtle you want it to be.”

“Yeah! I‘ll never be able to do this!”

“Yeah, it’s not turning out like you want and it’s so hard to get these to work. Hmmm…so tell me what you think it should look like.” (he proceeds to describe his idea in great detail)

“So this just isn’t going to work at all. It‘s just so complicated.”

“No. I just can’t get it…” He tosses pipe cleaners to the side.

I pick up my own set and start to fiddle with my own version…

“No, not like that…”

“Oh, do you think you have an idea? This isn’t right, huh?”

“Yeah, maybe I can do it…here, let me see.”

And he’s off…

“See, the legs need to bend down like this and these make the shell…”

I sat with him for a few more minutes, having him describe to me his process as I commented on (mirrored) his progress:

“Wow, you put those black ones on to make the spots on the shell like you talked about…that looks cool!”

Mirroring (“this is too hard, and stupid“), Identifying the Problem (can’t get the pipe cleaners to cooperate) and Coming Up with a Solution (describing the plan and working the design).

The result: a beautiful, magical turtle that he was proud to display in his class art gallery. And more importantly: the confidence and knowledge that he is capable, resilient and talented.

* 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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