I had a very interesting conversation with one of my students yesterday. He is one of a set of twins, and he is a sweet boy, but has very poor behavior and the things he does is very alienating to adults and other kids.
He was having a particularly alienating day yesterday, and were saying such nasty things, I told him, "You know, I know you're a good kid, but it's times like this that I don't want to be around you. And I think that sucks. Moreover, I think you know exactly what you're doing and saying, and I don't like it. It's almost like you and your brother, decided some time ago for him to be the good twin, and for you to be the bad twin."
And he says,
"That's right! I AM the bad twin."
"But I don't really think you are. Don't you think you guys can both be good twins?"
".....but if I wasn't the bad twin I don't know who I would be."
"Maybe that's not such a bad thing. Maybe you can slowly figure out what kind of twin you are without filling some role someone else made for you."
"but everyone thinks I'm the bad twin."
"if everyone else decides who you are, then you are not in control of your own life. Is that what you want?"
" well, as long as we're working together, it's not acceptable. I am not giving up on you because you have a cute personality and good sense of humor to share"
"Everyone always says that but they all end up giving up on me."
"When you act the way you do, can you blame them? I think you just try to push people away so that you can give yourself more evidence that people give up on you, but in fact, you're creating that reality yourself. So you can stop that when you're here cause I'm not gonna accept it."
He reluctantly agreed that he would explore what it means to be the good twin and left. Today, I had a meeting for a different child I am going to start seeing next week, when it was determined that this child would be moved into the class my challenging student is in. I asked the new student who his friends were, and he mentions my "challenging" student. When I walked out of the meeting room, I ran into my student in the hallway and said, "hey listen, so there's a new student coming into your class starting tomorrow, and he doesn't do so good with transitions. He mentioned that he thinks that you're cool and you're his friend, and I was wondering if you could help him out with adjusting." He looked me in the eye and said, "Ok. I can do that."
He looked very happy and he when we had our session later on in the day, he walked into my room with none of the alienating behaviors or nasty comments. It was interesting how this arrangement just came into being today after our conversation yesterday. I have a feeling that this partnership will help him, as well as the other student in many ways. It's amazing how things get arranged better in ways that I could not even imagine.