Thanks to some International Schools in Beijing, I visited Beijing twice in the short period of three months and inhaled more of its pollution, which happened to be more dense the second time round. My three week visit also provided another occasion to meet with the ex-pat PET instructors, who attended some of my bullying seminars as well. It seems that many of the parents who attend PET there are those with young children rather than teens, hence their courses are more heavily skewed towards the younger end of the spectrum, and requested more role plays for this age group.
Upon return, one of our Australian instructors shared a problem she was having with a mother in her present PET class. This mother is Chinese and has enormous difficulties with active listening, and despite the seven weeks of PET, is still fighting the habit of ‘telling’ the child ‘whatever’ and expecting compliance. ‘Old habits die hard’ as they say.
One of her issues is that her 7 year old refuses to practice the piano. She does not know what the ‘bottom of his/her cone’ is… as yet. Even with good active listening, there is still no guarantee that the child will voice his/her cone-issue, however we know that AL (active listening) will provide the best conditions for its revelation.
This mother seemed intense in getting the child to play the piano, and would probably provide a list of benefits for excelling in this skill. All logical road blocking stuff ! This would be difficult to role play as we may not be able to guess what the core reason for this resistance really is. So this instructor and myself brainstormed some possible cores that could belong to a 7 year old.
Here is my list:
- I don’t like the piano
- I don’t like the music I have to play
- I don’t like the teacher
- the teacher sits too close to me while I play
- the piano lessons at school are during my lunch time break…so I miss out on soccer / friends
- my friends say that piano is for girls
- my fingers can’t reach all the keys…I don’t like to stretch ..
- the piano is too big…I prefer a small musical instrument I can walk around with…
- (your additions here)
In this real case, the mother does not play the piano herself…and perhaps there is some vicarious living going on here….some need she has for him or her. In Beijing, a similar piano issue was shared. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
The second issue that was shared, was the problem of brushing teeth before bedtime. (Session 2 or 3 or 8). This group are at Session 8 of their course and the brushing of teeth prior to bed is a major concern for a few parents. This is where the skills of consultancy need to be employed.
Consultant: – a) know the facts
b) present facts clearly * *
Imagine the Shifting gears diagram….(which I won’t draw here.)
Mum: time to brush your teeth before bed.
Child: Noooo!… I don’t want to.
Mum: …..AL (active listening)…
followed immediately with an I-M.
“I would like you to brush your teeth like you always do…because we and you have done a lot of eating at tea and some of the small bits of food could be stuck between our teeth.
Child: No…there is no food stuck between my teeth
Mum: …..AL: . . . .
“Yes, there are no chunky bit of food….because if there were chunky bits, you would feel it. The food that I am talking about are small bits that might be stuck in the narrow gaps between each tooth…bits so small that our tongue can’t feel it”.
You see….(parent gets a piece of paper and draws the mouth and teeth)
- using a different colour, say red or green, show food lodged between the teeth.
- Because these pieces are so small (particles) we can’t feel them with our tongue
- If we go to sleep from now to 7.00am, that will be ___ hours
- During that time, the food particles will decay…go rotten…and can affect the gums around the tooth.
- at night, our mouth does not make saliva…..during the day our mouth is always making saliva so the food particles at recess and lunch time are dissolved…but at night, there is no saliva to dissolve these particles.
- …and also, our breath can end up smelling a smell that others will notice…
There could be resistance to any bits of advice….so the parent needs to be alert to this, and AL that resistance at least once, before supplying more advice/more information.
Another tack to take / an additional tack:
a) What is the taste that you have in your mouth at the moment? (it will probably be the taste of the evening meal)
b) After you brush your teeth, what is the feeling you have in your mouth? ( I am processing for ‘freshness’ here) Exactly !…that is a sign that the mouth is clean…freshness – clean
Turn such events into educational moments.