Working as a counselor or therapist with parents and children who are stuck in spiraling, worsening relationships, it is clear that a lot of the conflict traces back to a disconnect related to an inability to take the other's perspective. Child and parent are each stuck into their own perspective, are frozen.
It is my work as a therapist I help to 'defrost' those rigid perspectives and to help people look at things from a different side, a new perspective. Being able to do this is one of the most effective, and often ignored skills to have. Gary Klein in a recent post mentioned a game that he played with his daughters called 'Switch' which implied arguing for one position in a debate, and then at the moment of 'switch' starting to argue for the other side. His grown daughter now feels that she has an edge over others in her profession as she can quickly 'decenter' and take someone else's perspective.
Klein argues that this game of perspective taking can only be done with older kids. He might be right if we are talking about debating certain political issues. However, even with very little kids, when we 'mentalize,' express what we think is going on in their minds, we offer a model of perspective taking. When they have been exposed to this continuous reflective activity, where there minds have been 'mirrored,' where their standpoint has been validated, however imperfectly, by a person who is curious about their perspective, by the time they become teenagers they might have learned a way of flexibility that will allow them to look at their parents' perspective with a more open mind!
To help a parent at times take a different perspective can be very difficult, as the position might have become so hardened, and so intertwined with very personal experiences.
Some of the parents are very strict in the way that they perceive a 'lie' by their child: A lie is something that needs to be punished. This could be the case, but it would also be important to explore the underlying reason for the lie. Often in situations where the child lives in two separate houses, the lie is an effect of the child being stuck between two parents who do not communicate anymore, who undermine each other and who 'need' the child each in their very own way. The lies are the effect of a child that is stuck in between and does not know what to do, where to go. Being able to take on that perspective of the child, can help the parent better respond to the lies. There can be additional interventions, other than punishing the child, to help the child from a position where he does not have to lie anymore.
To schedule an appointment call An at (530) 321-2970