Finishing Strong: Reflect

Spring Greetings from your school counselor, Ms. Shari. 

Our Weekly Theme:   REFLECT

To reflect means to think deeply or carefully about.

Children will often say, “but it wasn’t my fault!”  or  “I couldn’t help it.”  Ask them to think again and reflect on who  DOES  have control over their words…..their actions…..their body.  Maybe it was the people they were around or the situation that influenced them to do what they did “in the moment.”

Reflecting on where you stumble,  first requires you to get out of the defensive thinking that it wasn’t your fault. It requires you to leave the big feelings behind and quiet your mind.  So reflecting then, requires time to cool down first and doesn’t happen in the heat of a situation when the adrenaline is high and we’re in what we call the red zone. This is when the feeling center of our brains, our amygdala, is firing and we are feeling the big feelings of fight, flight or freeze.  

Reflection happens when our brains are calm, in the green zone, and when we are thinking with the prefrontal cortex part of our brains.  Sometimes it’s hard to get kids to admit their guilt in a situation so something I will often ask students is, “If you could go back and do anything differently, would you do the same thing or not?”   Reflection gives us the time to envision…. then practice something differently...something better.  

Sometimes we can reflect on our choices by thinking of positive or negative influences such as people you surround yourself with and the choices you made in those situations.  

Reflecting on what you were afraid to do and if those fears really came true can be helpful. Younger children will need to be reminded of when they were afraid of something happening, and then reminded that it never really did happen.  Realizing that all of the “what if’s” probably won’t happen and that when you face them again, you can tell yourself, “I’ve been there before and nothing really happened.  This is just my fear talking.”

“What if” thinking can be a good gauge to keep us out of trouble and out of harmful situations because it makes us think ahead to what will happen next.  But the “what if’s” can also keep us from taking healthy risks.  Having a bad case “what if” thinking is what I call feeling anxious or having anxiety about doing something that’s challenging or scary.

When children come to me feeling scared about something happening, sometimes we’ll go there and play the situation out.  When the anxiety is keeping them from feeling comfortable in a situation, we’ll talk about if that really did happen, what could we do first, next and last. Just having a plan gives kids a sense of control and reduces anxiety.  

So reflecting or looking carefully into a situation or goal is an important step in improving a plan because….  “When you know better, you do better.”  -Maya Angelou