I was just preparing to start the day’s training course when the school’s deputy head teacher telephoned. A feeling of dread came over me – what were they complaining about this time? My stepson had told them that he was not able to do any work today because he didn’t have his glasses. What’s more he had deliberately not brought them to school as he had been told he wasn’t allowed to bring anything in from home! It was going to be one of those days.
We’d had the problem of the school complaining that he was bringing things from home despite our best efforts to stop him. Even searching him before school had only led to him smuggling things in his underpants! Now he was fighting back. I felt my muscles tightening in my jaw as I bit back from saying what I really wanted to, which was along the lines of ‘I’m two hundred miles from home, what do you expect me to do? It’s your problem, deal with it.’ Instead, I found myself explaining that I would call his father and get him to bring the spectacles in at lunchtime and that my stepson’s eyes were perfectly good enough to enable him to perform his school duties for a morning without them. I silently fumed at this new act of defiance – I’ll give him what for when I speak to him!
Miraculously, I put on my professional cloak of good humour and wisdom and headed into the classroom for a wonderful day of training and learning.
That evening I spoke to my stepson via an online video call. After a fantastic day talking about and experiencing the wonders of letting go of stress and emotional hang-ups, I was in the perfect headspace to deal with him on a different basis. I could see the look of ‘got you today, didn’t I’ triumph in his eyes changing second by second with the knowledge he was in trouble and was expecting to be well and truly told off. I started off by congratulating him. Whaaaaat?
“You did well today. I’m so proud of you.” “What for?” he spluttered. “For not taking anything into school.” I said. “I’m so proud that you took it to heart and did what we asked.” He looked totally confused. Result! I continued. “You did right not taking anything into school. I’m sorry, I should have explained to you that we are going to treat your glasses like your trousers.” His brows drew together in a puzzled look. “How?” “Well, you see, glasses are like trousers – you wear them, don’t you. We wouldn’t send you to school without your trousers now, would we! Can you imagine that?” He laughed. “So, as well as wearing our trousers in school, we must wear our glasses when reading in school. Okay?” “Okay.” He agreed smiling. “So, keep up the good work. What else did you learn today?” We continued chatting about his day for a while, until he went off happy and laughing – he certainly wasn’t expecting
Never had that problem again. If you want a different result, use a different pattern.