Your child is off-track and you are out of ideas of how to help him? I propose to you to play a game that takes 1-2 minutes and that in our case has lasting positive effects on his mindset. Here’s how it worked for us once:
It was a Sunday morning and my oldest son (8.6 years old) and my youngest daughter (5 years old) had been fighting for everything and anything for what seemed ages. I was sleepy, lying in bed, with my head covered by a pillow, so I wouldn’t hear them fight again and again, while I kept hoping that my husband would find a miracle solution to bring back peace and harmony in the house, which he couldn’t, either.
When I went to the kitchen to have breakfast, once more I saw my son running around and nagging his younger sister. That’s when I asked him to come over to me. I hugged him and asked him kindly if, as I had noticed, he felt “agitated” (as we call it) inside. He confirmed, so I proposed to him a game that we sometimes play, especially in the car when he is off-track.
He or I count usually to 30, while we are supposed to hold each other’s gaze. I started this game a few years ago when I was in the car at the red light, in my attempt to get my son to re-center himself by holding eye contact.
So, he counted to 30, but couldn’t really look into my eyes. So, while I was still holding him in my arms, he said he wanted another round. He counted this time to 40 and could look at me better. Then, he asked me to count to 100. While I was counting, we were both smiling and he brought his face really close to me, while still looking into my eyes.
When I finished, he hugged me, told me he loved me and then ran off to play peacefully for a couple of hours with his younger sister. During their new play, they didn’t have any conflict at all. They role played with pillows from the couch and explored their bedrooms for toys. Then, for the rest of the day, my son cooperated with us for basically everything that usually could arise dissent from him.
His regained focus and stability after the game make me believe that, indeed, when one manages to look somebody else in the eye and hold that gaze, then that person feels balanced and peaceful. And it also shows me that, sometimes, a 2-minute game will miraculously solve hours of off-track behavior.