When I get the call that a child is having issues in school such as can’t focus, isn’t doing homework, isn’t living up to the image in the parent’s mind of what this child should be or do, etc., the first thing I want to do is meet the child.
I have one goal at this point, I want to detach the child from what everyone thinks he should be and bring him back to who he is at his core. From this place we have a good, healthy and natural starting point to build on.
How I bring children back to who they are at their current core is by filling all of their six human needs at once. I call it flooding.
Let me just walk you through it and other gems will pop out.
Because I’ve been working with small children for 20 years, I often get calls from parents that think their child has issues.
On my website in Japan I talk about how I can easily work with children with ADD or behavioral issues.
Mom calls and tells the story. I listen and take notes on the issues and what is her ideal outcome for the child. Then I tell her the outcome she wants is not an issue. Deal with this all the time. For starters, lets meet so I can get a feel for the child and please bring any school work you said has not been getting done.
Now I know when I meet the child he is going to be very concerned because mom has been to the school many times for behavioral issues. Mom also has a great job and it seems she would be much happier focusing on it other than dealing with her son. The son must feel like a burden, an outcast, a thorn in the side of his mom and the teachers at school. (I was that boy x100)
At this point I am sure this boy does not feel any of the six human needs being filled at high levels.
So when we meet, he starts to wander around the room as the mother jumps right into the story again that she told me on the phone. My son has ADD, he’s not doing well in school, he is this and he is that. I reassure her again that this is common, an easy fix and you will soon see. Please watch and relax.
As I listened to the mother, I watched the boy with my peripheral vision. Mom called him over which he resisted and I said at the same time, it’s fine. Let me do what I do please. Just relax which she did.
I held up a school bag and asked is this yours? He looked like “Shit, not this again!” Then said yes. I tossed it on the floor away from all of us and sat down while pulling out some snacks from my bag.
The boy looked like “Wow! This guy is nuts and I think I may like him”.
Now I start eating a snack alone and tossed a bag towards him and said this is yours but I never looked up. At the same time, I acted like I was too busy with my own snacks. If he goes for the bag, he just accepted my invitation to an intervention dance.
He took the bag and without looking up at him I said come closer and lets eat together. I do not look at the child or in his eyes much at this point because it tends to trigger approval seeking and asking for permission. That’s the last dance I want to do at this point.
I know something about 5, 6 and 7 year olds…. They are transitioning over to linear thinking from Non-linear thinking. This boy is still most comfortable with Non-linear thinking. It’s like free association. Ever been around a young child and they are just Free associating like crazy? I like bananas. Fast car. This chair is hard. It’s as if whatever pops in their head they just speak it. Knowing this as I eat snacks I start to say whatever comes to mind (at least it looks that way).
The boy starts to laugh. When he laughs, I now look in his eyes and laugh with him. I then start to escalate it by saying I like to drink milk and let it blow bubbles through my nose. He starts to giggle and I pump his state with more crazy talk… Smelly feet, etc.
I quickly look at the mom and say we are almost there, just a moment, LOL!.
At this point the boy has no idea what to make of me because I am not Japanese, I could care less about any issues he may have and I am just playing and being present.
I just flooded him with love and connection.
Now I will flood him with significance.
because I am not Japanese, I speak Japanese like a child and am perfectly fine with that.
I start talking about a famous comic book character that has a magic pocket. From this pocket he can pull anything he wants from it. I say his name in such a silly way, the boy corrects me to which I say it again in a silly way and he follows with another correction smiling like crazy.
We both know we are playing with each other and loving it. Then I say the character’s name correctly and tell him he is my new teacher and I am so happy to have met him. He lights up like a christmas tree and I can see the mother looking in amazement.
I am using my voice to manage the energy and engagement. Example, If I whisper with confusion, he leans forward to listen and help me.
I also am physically beneath him to where he is slightly looking down at me. This is very important. Mom along with all the other big people are mostly towering over him. This tends to make children feel insignificant and powerless.
Now I quickly ask how do I say blah, blah, in Japanese? He quickly responds to which I repeat what he says in a very silly way which makes him laugh like crazy. Now I set an anchor firmly in place to which I can come back to later if the energy gets low. Comedians do this all the time.
Based on the six human needs, this boy just had all his flooded.
Love and connection – Check
Significance – Check
Contribution – Check (he is now my teacher)
Variety – Check (he has not had this much variety in a long time)
Certainty – Check (he knows he is safe, he is certain he can teach me Japanese)
Growth – Check (he is growing by teaching me stuff.)
He is now back to being fully a seven year old and detached from what others may think of him or what he should be.
Now I pull out his school work and a pencil and say how do you do this (looking puzzled)? He takes it and shows me.
I asked if I can have his homework because no one gives me homework anymore and he said in Japanese “no silly, this is mine”. I looked disappointed in a playful way, LOL!
All this in under 50 minutes.
Mom was blown away which is usually the response.
Before dealing with homework or anything else, it’s best to bring your child back to the place of centeredness and unconditional love. Anything else is just going to create resistance in most cases.