Friday, December 18, 2009
Getting to the bottom of it
I had tried hugging, talking and comforting earlier in the afternoon which all were just brushed off angrily by him. This time I sat next to him on the couch. He had his feet curled up so I made sure I sat touching them. The converstaion goes like this and I'll tell why in italics. Oh! Background info! In the earlier conversations I discovered at the Y on Monday he hung out with a kid who is in world's of trouble. He has had the police called on him at the library, smarted off to people at the Y until kicked out and is hanging out with teen relatives that are headed for trouble. Taz was very defensive about "He's a great kid and my friend."
First I stopped to think about what the real issue is. What is driving him to want to hang out with someone like this. He is back to old thoughts about himself "I am no good. I am un lovable. I am bad." First step is to address those feelings.
Me: Taz you are going back to believing some lies about yourself. I love you so much. You are a smart, lovable, and sweet guy underneath the behavior. You are back to thinking of yourself as that unwanted foster kid. That isn't who you are anymore.
Taz's eyes softened and he nodded. I began to rub his leg and snuggled a little closer. He slid his feet under me a little.
Taz has high school finals beginning today and was supposed to be studying for a test. He was reading instead. He had been kicked out of a class earlier for refusing to do his work or stay in his seat.
Me: I know you know how to be a great student. Tell me about a time when you did well at school.
Looking for a past success here.
Taz: I got a 94 on a test once.
Ask how they succeeded.
Me: How did you do that? That is really impressive!
Taz: I studied (bingo)
Me: Really? How long did you have to study to get a great that good?
Taz: About 10 minutes
Reward and encourage that behavior with words. I should say he really probably only did study 10 minutes. This kid can remember things like you wouldn't believe.
Me: Really? Only 10 minutes. See! You are smart! A lot of kids could study all evening long and not get a grade like that.
Taz: I'm going to get my study guide out for my test. Will you help me study?
We studied for about a half hour as it was several pages.
This type of conversation can be used for a variety of subjects but here are the keys.
Look at what is under the behavior. The issue was not his friends but the feelings that would cause him to choose that type of a friend.
Ask about past successes and swoon over them.
Ask if they think they can do that again. We didn't get to that point because he realized it on his own
Give it a try! Have a healing day!