Mirroring Monday: The annoying little sister

A parent has been experiencing lots of fighting between her two
children; a boy,(Peter) age 6 and a girl, (Amy) age 3.  The boy who
previously was fairly good natured and co-operative especially before
his younger sister was born has become extremely moody and aggressive.
He will sometimes try to hurt his little sister and says he hates his
life.  Parents are frustrated and tired of nagging their son and
giving him consequences as it doesn’t seem to be working.
They learn about the concept of mirroring and decide to give it a try.
They also decide to commit some one-on-one time with their son,
without any interference from the sister, and this happens 20 minutes
a day for two weeks.

The mirroring is an attempt to match the affective state of their son.
It goes something like this:

Parent:  It’s  sooooooo hard for you having a little sister
(Amy) who goes in your room when you don’t want her to and bugs you so
much!!
Peter: Yeah, it sucks.
Parent: You used to have us all to yourself and now Amy always
interrupts and wants so much attention.
Peter:  Yeah, I hate when she does that.
Parent: I know… Sometimes she can be really annoying and always wants
to do what you’re doing.
Peter: Uh huh….. (Three empathic, accurate mirroring statements has
helped Peter calm down).
Parent:  You know, I think Amy really looks up to you and thinks
you’re the greatest even though it’s just annoying to you.  I wonder
if we might need to make a few new rules so Amy stays out of your
stuff more often, and maybe you could be a really cool big brother and
teach her some of the things you know, like building a really tall
tower so it doesn’t fall down right away.  What do you think?
Peter:  well, maybe….

Initially, Peter is not thrilled about this, however, when his parents
validate his need to have more ownership of some of his toys, he is
more receptive to being more co-operative with Amy.  With consistency
on the part of their behavior, parents report Peter’s aggression
begins to significantly decrease and Peter seems happier.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Leave a Comment

Subscribe & Socialize

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

New to Connected Parenting?

Check out this podcast to find out more.

Connected Parenting News & Events

December 2010
MTWTFSS
« Nov Jan »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031 

Search

Archives

Disclaimer

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