(Disclaimer: the names have been changed in the following session reflection.)
After class was dismissed, I spoke with Miss Deborah about utilizing “I” statements. She said she was open to trying it. She told me that she felt that, often, Dominic felt the need to control. I mentioned that there may sometimes be a pejorative component to simply referring to Dominic‘s challenges as being grounded in his need to control. Rather, I seek to find the undercurrent that may be fueling the controlling behavior.
I have found, often, that if we do not feel competent in how we navigate through these social challenges regarding sharing or collaborating with our peer group, then we may see these controlling features emerge.
Simply acknowledging that we hear him screaming because his friends were not playing a game the way he wanted them to play it might open the way for him to develop self awareness that he may not have had initially when he screamed out of frustration or anger. With this sense of awareness developed, he now has an opportunity to take responsibility for his role in the interaction. From here, he may now be able to enter into a dialogue about how we may come up with a solution to his present situation. If he struggles with coming up with a solution, at least now we have an awareness that there is one to be uncovered.
We might scaffold at this point to encourage Dominic to agree to play with his friends for one round of the game the way they had wanted to play it, and then maybe the next round he can see if his friends want to play one round his way. This compromise may help Dominic to not feel as though his only resource is to scream when things don’t go the way he would have preferred. Now, he may begin to access the solution oriented alternative instead.