Case Study #1
For the sake of discretion, I will be substituting real names with fake ones in this case study. I got to know the Smiths a couple of years back. A dedicated couple who are the parents of three beautiful little girls; Sophie, Isabelle, and Ava, oldest to youngest.
One of the most common problems that parents face in regards to their children’s behaviour is them turning a deaf ear towards the people they should be obeying and listening to. The Smith family reached out to me with the same issue just a few years ago, explaining how rude and erratic the behaviour of their older daughter, Sophie, was getting to the point that she had to be sent to boarding school. While Isabelle did not exhibit any such behavior, their youngest was starting to mold herself like her oldest sister, throwing fits and tantrums in order to get what she wanted from her parents. They had exhausted numerous venues looking for help to no avail and had finally come to me.
I determined that the parents had lost control of their children and began by getting to know them better and forming a respectful relationship with them. I asked Sophie to describe a life she would enjoy at this moment in time and she explained how she would be kind to her friends, obedient to her parents, loving to her sisters, and a good student at school if she got the chance. This showed her willingness to improve so I took to reminding her of her ‘new story’ every chance I would subsequently get to condition her mind to shape new behaviors that are unlike her past.
Ava, the youngest, was initially all over the place, misbehaving in public, lashing out when she did not get what she wanted, and screaming and crying. I determined that she was doing all of this to get attention so instead of feeding into the cycle and encouraging her behavior, I told her family members to ignore her when she indulges in such disruptive behavior and telling her that throwing tantrum like this will have consequences, such as her not getting to go to the supermarket with everyone when she wanted to. In this manner, we reshaped her mind to come to the conclusion that bad behavior will no longer turn things her way so it is better to do what is asked of her and then get her will fulfilled.
By sharing my own personal stories and connecting with her on shared experiences of feeling unimportant and cast away, I made Sophie realize the new story that she wants to live and can actually live if she tries. Reminding her of this repeatedly instilled a drive in her to achieve her goal and positive changes were visible very soon after. Meanwhile, since Ava’s rude behavior was no longer getting her the attention that she wanted but was instead serving to turn things against her, she began to make an effort to listen to what was asked of her, albeit slowly at first, but surely enough. By the end of the experience, as her family went out and she was left home with me because of her disobedience, we were playing games together and enjoying each other’s company. So the key is to determine what the needs of the child are and encourage them to achieve it through positive channels rather than disruptive behavior. Help them realize that their past is simply a stepping stone and they can use it to step into the great life they have always imagined of living. Instead of having them shape the way you think and behave, guide them to become their best selves with love and care. Ava stopped tantruming to get her way, and Sophie never went back to boarding school.