Mirroring Monday – Telling the Truth 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!

As human beings, it seems almost natural to be “reactionary”. Practices such as the CALM technique and maintaining neutrality go against our natural instinct to be emotional and reactionary. Connected Parenting is all about “mindful” parenting, conscious parenting…and here is an example of how it has worked for me:

My mother is visiting from Montreal and as per grandparent “duties”, she has come bearing gifts for my kids. Always being mindful of being “fair”, she hands out the gifts with precise equality. So when she handed each of my kids battery operated glow sticks, they were delighted; until one of them fell and broke to pieces and the other only flashed in red, instead of the advertised multi-color rainbow. Although somewhat disappointed, both handled the disappointment fine. My husband subsequently fixed the broken one, but could not get the other one to flash in the rainbow flash of colors. So my son held the working stick, and my daughter held the only-flashing-red stick. We did tell my daughter that we would try to find a working one for her the next day. The following morning, my beautiful son approaches me and says, “Mommy, I have to tell you something. My glow stick is really Seany’s glow stick. I took hers yesterday because I didn’t like that mine only flashed red and I took it before anyone could really notice.” So here was my reaction: brewing in my brain was the lecture about taking things that aren’t ours…about being truthful…about being kind to his sister…etc. But in a moment of mindfulness, there was something much bigger here to notice: my typically face-saving son has on his own come forward with an admission of a wrongdoing…completely on his own. And so, I was being called to duty to truly notice this wonderful and admirable accomplishment, without the lecture. And so my response was, “Manny, thank you for telling me that. No one would have known and you could have chosen not to ever tell, and yet you used your courage and honesty to tell me. I really love that you did that. That was really the right thing to do.” On his own, he apologized to his sister (another miracle). And after this lovely moment of truth, my son asked, “so Mommy, if I give back Seany’s glow stick to her, can I get the new one from the store?” And here was my teachable moment; with absolute neutrality I answered, “you know honey, I realize it would be nice to have a brand new one, but you did take this one from your sister, it is only fair that she get the new one.” This wasn’t punishment, this was simply a natural consequence. There was no tantrum, no fussing; he got it and it made sense to him. And all the while his pride and self-esteem remained completely intact, and the path to truthtelling and admissions of guilt has begun to be paved.

* 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."
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