Mirroring Monday – Incidental 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 Jennifer Kolari. Enjoy!

Mirroring is emotional nutrition for your child’s brain. It’s amazingly effective, but people (including me) don’t always remember to do it, especially when their child is behaving well and they have nothing to correct. But you don’t have to follow your kid around waiting for him to do or say something wrong so that you’ll have an opportunity to mirror. In fact, it’s the mirroring you do when things are going well—what I call incidental mirroring—that will gradually reduce the number of times you have to mirror in order to correct. Incidental mirroring creates connecting moments that keep your teen bonded to you so that he or she is less likely to act in ways he knows will upset you.

Any time your child talks, you can mirror; when he isn’t talking, you can mirror. Anytime he sends any kind of message, if you respond in a way that lets him know you’re really paying attention, his brain will be bathed in reward chemicals and he’ll feel good—about himself and about you. So, if your child is telling you about something that happened at school that day, instead of saying, “Oh, that’s nice,” and going on about your business, try giving him your full attention and saying, “Wow, are you serious? Your teacher just ignored you when you asked her a question?” or if he’s looking for something particular in the fridge and is upset that it’s not there, you could just say, “Ah, I really hate it when I know exactly what I want to eat and it’s not there.” Then walk away and leave him with that small but powerful moment of being understood. It’s good for your child and it’s good for you!

* 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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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.

"A must read for parents, educators, and any other adults who want to connect in a deeply caring and positive way with the children in their lives."
—Barbara Coloroso