Lessons from a pre-teen

Posted: 28/11/2015 in Uncategorized

I spent my usual session with Shani today. She will be twelve just after Christmas and she ‘visits’ me because her dad feels I can help with her ADD (attention deficit disorder).  It took quite a few months before she accepted these visits and the turning point came after a chance response.

She had countered one of my questions with “It’s none of your business.” My answer to her was “Anything that makes you feel unhappy is my business.” She looked me up and down, and the penny dropped, albeit very quietly.

We sit in a room together every week for fifty minutes. There are no toys, games, books or screens. We talk about bits and pieces. I listen to every word she says. She brings me things to show me, a shiny ‘diamond’, a little folding secret box, a doll’s shoe found in the street.

She is seen, and heard. She doesn’t have to shout over the others in the classroom or her girlfriends in the playground. She doesn’t have to worry about whether she is saying the right thing, annoying her parents, winding up her big sister, or giving her classmates ammunition. She can just be.

She is still bouncing off the walls, but school doesn’t seem to be as hellish for her. She still runs her family ragged, but seems a tiny bit more convinced that she is loveable. She is still my most demanding appointment of the week.

But I like her, and she knows it. I’ve never said it, but she’s worked it out.

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