Reflective Parenting Helps When Your Best Intentions Backfire

Here is a common scenario that occurs in many families. Parents to try to have a discussion with their child about a topic that they assume will be helpful for the child. But the child balks at engaging in the discussion. The parents, feeling armed with good intentions try even harder to have the discussion, because as they say, “We are only trying to be helpful”. The parents end up being frustrated when the child continues to refuse to talk or listen. The topic differs in each family, but the underlying issue remains the same.

Here is an example of how this situation played out in one family. Let’s reflect on why the child refuses to engage and what the parents might do about.

The parents of a middle school girl with a Nonverbal Learning Disability (NLD) ask me for help. They want to teach their daughter about her condition but don’t know how. People with NLD are impaired in their ability to read and interpret non-verbal communication, such as facial expression and body language. This makes it very difficult for them in social situations. They don’t’ ‘get it’ when people are joking or being sarcastic. They can’t sense if a person is signaling discomfort or a friendliness. In this girl’s case, it made it especially hard with peers. She did well in school and had hobbies but had no friends. (more…)

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