One of my clients has just come back from holidaying with his family in Greece. One evening he was sorting through the washing and came across 2 large, brightly-coloured sweet wrappers in his 8 year old daughter’s pocket. He asked his wife if she knew anything about them and they both recognised them from the supermarket trip that day, but neither had bought them.
As he found them when his daughter came out of the bathroom he asked her discreetly to talk with him. Without saying anything he indicated the wrappers which he had put on the table. As his daughter saw them, the dawn of realisation happened and her face crumpled into tears.
He gently asked her what had happened, as he was being mindful of the work we had done to improve his communication and relationship with those he loves. She initially refused to speak, which is a strategy she uses to avoid dealing with things. As her dad had a history of impatience, he wouldn’t last long before getting angry, but it meant she didn’t have to actively engage and take responsibility for her actions, which was the opposite of what he wanted. However, our Core Sense work meant that he was prepared for this and just kept breathing evenly and holding his intention of love and respect for his daughter.
Eventually she explained what had happened; she had seen the sweets in their beautiful pink and green wrappers and wanted some. She had pointed them out to her mum who simply said that they had bought enough “treats” so she asked her dad if she could have them. He had also said “no” although he did remind her that she had holiday spending money she could use. He then continued with his part of the shopping list. You can guess what the little girl did next; she had a large pocket on the front of her jumper, and in went a couple of sweets.
After she had explained, her dad thanked her for telling him straight away what had happened, and asked her what she thought should happen now. Not surprisingly she said that they should just forget about it, and not tell anyone. He explored how that would help, without making any suggestions of his own by continuing to ask “What else could you do?” and “What would that mean?”. Eventually the little girl said that she should pay for the sweets, but she really didn’t want her little brother or mother to know. Naturally the father agreed that paying was the best course of action. He repeated that he was glad she had discussed this with him, and he felt that her mummy needed to know, and so he asked her to tell her mother what she had decided to do.
Again, that took a minute for his daughter to find the courage to call her mum over as the shame came up again inside her, but he stayed calm and patient until she did.