Because It’s Not True
I coach a couple who questioned if perhaps, they were expecting too much from their 7th grade son.
In the summer following 5th grade their son wanted a cell phone. With promises and hope they agreed that he would earn a phone when he mastered keeping his grades above a specified level and going to bed and getting up on time without being prompted.
More than a year later, and still not meeting the requirements, their son was angry and frustrated. He accused his parents of treating him unfairly and not getting it. He claimed he’s the only one who doesn’t have a phone. And he asserted that he misses out, is left out and sticks out!
This outcry triggered his parents to question the emotional and social fallout. They wanted to do the right thing, but what it was wasn’t clear. They fretted over the only options they saw: give in and get him a phone or dive deeper and insist that he meet the expectations.
That’s when they contacted me. After some discussion we crafted a plan.
They reassured their son that the three of them still share the same goal of him getting a phone. They reminded him that they believe in him and understand that he feels left out. They asked him to articulate ideas of what he could do differently to improve his grades and master his end of day and morning tasks. And they encouraged him to ask for help and promised to support him in every way possible.
By handing the problem-solving steps to their son and being emotionally sensitive, their son devised strategies that he made work. His parents’ approach was the boost he needed to re-engage and shift his focus to action and away from anger.
Next up on his parents’ agenda is collaborating with their son on phone use and responsibility.
I am coaching some very cool adolescents this summer. Each one is amazing. Here is one’s story about being bullied.
A few of his classmates called him “goat” the year before. He hated it. He felt picked on, embarrassed, and helpless. Some relief came when his teachers stepped in, and the using counselor’s tips to ignore them, walk away, and start talking to someone nearby. Avoidance helped, but even so, the name calling still stung. He was shaken and his feelings were hurt, for it was unprovoked and intentionally mean.
You might be interested in knowing that this young man holds his own in every other way. He is sought after to be in learning groups because he is funny and a brilliant problem solver. Close to earning his black belt in Taekwondo, he also plays the trumpet and has a dog. At home he can be relied on to mow the lawn and keep his room clean, sort of.
The remarkable thing about him it that he learned how to not be sensitive to or influenced by comments from peers not in his circle of friends.
I asked him how he’d let it go. A few months after, he overheard his mom encouraging a co-worker to not let gossip about her bother her because it wasn’t true. She said it’s meaningless because they aren’t your friends. He said the more he thought it, it made sense for him. He wasn’t a goat. And why should he care what kids who weren’t his friends said. It really was pointless.
I told him I admire his decision to sort out his emotions and not assign value to untruths. With a confident smile, he said he’s liking every day a lot more now.
He’s right, you know. We, like our kids, can get really caught up in negative thinking. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Thanks for all you do,