The ability to reframe situations can act as a cushion against the rough and tumble of everyday life. But, do you know reframing situations can help you and your child? Read on to know all about it.
By Arun Sharma
Little Hari came back sulking from the park. With his hands folded, he walked over to his mother.
Hari: “I’ll never go the park again mama.”
Mom: (pulling Hari close to her) “But why? What happened?”
Hari: “I don’t want to play with anyone. No one likes me.”
Mom: “How did you come to know that no one likes you?”
Hari: “Prashant pushed me and told me that he did not like me.”
Mom: “It’s really unfortunate that Prashant said that. But, what about the others? No one else has said that they don’t like you, which means all of them like you and they really want to play with you.”
Hari: (thinking) “You’re right mama. Bye. I will be back after our game is over.”
Hari was disheartened by Prashant’s behaviour. But, his mother reframed the situation and made Hari look at the brighter side of the picture, filling him with a sense of positivity.
It is natural for us to feel buoyed when things are going in the right direction and dispirited when they go wrong or take a turn for the worse. What we fail to remember is that, the risk of things falling apart or failing is an inherent part of every task or challenge we take up. And, when things do go south, most of us feel helpless, hopeless and miserable. We aren’t willing to see beyond the debacle, and recover and redeem ourselves.
It is during times like these that the ability to reframe situations can help us look at situations from a different perspective and come up with solutions to the issue at hand.
When we reframe situations, the following happen automatically:
1. We gain insight into our own behaviours and often the patterns of others, leading to a better understanding of self and relationships (even if we cannot verbalise it or use words to describe our insights).
2. We gain a new perspective on situations and problems that are stressful.
3. We find options, where we previously couldn’t.
4. We develop problem-solving skills over time.
5. We feel more relaxed and empowered at being able to deal with situations that previously seemed difficult to handle.
These five changes help foster a sense of well-being in both the child and the parent by acting as catalysts that strengthen family bonds. This happens because the child feels empowered, valued and supported. Also, there is an increased sense of trust in the parent–child relationship. This, in turn, leads to better two-way communication, which is essential to initiate, maintain and enhance the quality of any healthy relationship. —*Aarti C Rajarathinam
Display of troublesome behaviours by children often makes parents feel frustrated and overwhelmed. However, reframing the situation can help parents look at the child’s behaviour in a different way. This can prevent them from becoming upset or angry, and work towards finding solutions.
But, do you know how to reframe situations? If not, then here are some tips to help you learn and master the technique:
“You can't always control what happens to you. But you can control how you react to it” — is an adage that most of us remember but never live by. Reframing not only helps us find solutions to our problems, but also increases our imagination, problem-solving ability, and happiness quotient.
*Aarti C Rajaratnam is a psychologist specialising in childhood and adolescent mental health, a best-selling author and an innovative education design consultant.
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