By Camilla McGill. November, 2017
A friend who is in the middle of a divorce rang me the other day wanting some tips to deal with her teenage son's challenging behaviour. In these kinds of situations it is often really difficult to know where to start so I gave her one simple idea. I told her to take him out on his own for a hot chocolate and take along a photo album or a handful of photos of him at different ages and talk about what kind of child he was or what they were doing at the time. She called me the next day to say what an amazing experience it had been and what a profound effect it had had on him. He will normally play on his phone or grunt at her when they spend time together but when they started looking at the photos he was completely absorbed. He asked lots of questions and it gave her the opportunity to show how much she loved him then and loves him now. It also showed him how involved both his parents had been which he seemed to find very reassuring. She said he started to open up to her about his current worries and she listened without interrupting or criticising him. He then allowed her to explain a bit about what she wanted to do to make things work for the family. All this from a looking at a few photos. She was so grateful for the idea and I admired her so much for actually following through on it. She is also a mother of four and I was very impressed that she actually had a photo album to show him!