Mirroring Monday – Dual Mirroring 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 Rebecca Lindsay. Enjoy!

A small pair of orange scissors with a blue handle – who would think they could cause such trouble? Two identical scissors. Two invested perspectives.

Students were asked to cut out quadrilaterals during math time – the problem was Sam had his scissors but James did not. After taking quite some time to get started on the activity and with increasing chatter attracting attention, I heard…

“Hey. You stole my scissors.”

“I did not. These are mine!”

“They are not. Your orange scissors are right there on top of your organizer.”

“Those aren’t mine. I don’t know where they came from. Mine have this blue handle. Someone just put those there.”

“Well those ones that you are using are mine. I have orange scissors with a blue handle. Now you’re using them and you have 2 pairs of scissors and I have none.”

“That’s not my fault. I don’t know what you did with your scissors but these are mine. They’ve been in my drawer and I’ve been using them all year.”

“I’ve had mine all year too and now they’re missing.”

And so the conversation goes…

I could tell how deeply invested each boy was in his side of the story – in his perspective. So I asked if I could step in and help.

After listening to each side of the story and asking each boy to wait and listen while the other boy spoke, I took on the task of dual mirroring… An effort, yes – but much better than my students accusing each other of lying and stealing all the while not doing their math.

With a calm and neutral voice, I said…

“Hmmm… You both have orange scissors with blue handles. And you’ve both been using them all year.”

They both nodded in agreement.

“Sam, you are certain these scissors are yours. You took them out of the drawer in your organizer where they’ve been all year.”

“Yes. And James is calling me a liar and saying I stole them from him. He’s saying these orange ones are mine and I don’t even know where they came from.”

“So, here you are minding your own business, cutting out your quadrilateral with scissors that belong to you and James is trying to tell you that those scissors are his.”

“Yes.”

“And James, here you are wanting to cut your shapes out and you can’t because you don’t have any scissors at all and you are certain that Sam is using yours especially because there’s a pair of scissors on top of his organizer not being used.”

“Yes…”

After a few more mirroring statements, both boys had calmed down enough and seemed able to see each other’s perspectives. They even offered possible alternatives to James stealing the scissors. In fact, Sam calmly suggested that maybe James had left his scissors somewhere in the room… Agreeing that there seemed to be no immediate solution, they decided to table to problem for later. Each boy was calm enough and felt validated enough to take some time away from the problem to see what would happen.

As it turns out, the missing pair of orange scissors with the blue handle were found on one of the classroom work tables. James looked mortified when I quietly called him over to show him. Without any prompting, James walked over to Sam’s desk and apologized to him for accusing him of stealing his scissors. Sam replied by saying, “Well, it definitely was a mystery and I can see why you thought these were yours.”

It was so neat to see not only how mirroring helped to deescalate the situation between the two boys, but how it really helped each boy to look beyond themselves in this particular situation and really try on the other’s perspective.

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

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