I once was faced with an angry teenager who refused to go to therapy. His parents had asked me to talk some sense into him. So, I tried to teach him about the value of therapy and to my surprise I learned an important lesson. After a pretty fruitless talk for 10 or 15 minutes, I asked why he was objecting to therapy. He answered, “I went to therapy to learn to walk. My parents wanted me to walk and I TRIED! I learned to walk but it is not good enough. I want to walk better!”
What to do? He was not going to believe me if I said that doing more of the same harder was going to lead to a different conclusion. This happened many years ago, before many of the spasticity management and innovative gait training programs had been developed. I really did not have much to offer him.
But I remembered him, years later, when I read Dr Carol Dweck’s classic book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. It is another of my must read books in your parent survival kit. I learned that the tiny word “yet” can change a demotivated, angry teenager into a dedicated exercise and fitness fan. Saying “You can’t walk well yet” can reframe a struggle into an achievable goal. I think both parents and older teens and adults need a lot more “yet” in their lives.
What do you think about reframing some of your child’s challenges in school and therapy by adding the word “yet”? Give it a try and see what happens! I would love to hear about your experiences.