The past Christmas holiday was the best one I had in years. What did I do? I spent it with the most important person in my life, my 12-year-old daughter Sofia, playing games, watching TV, talking and doing a spot of shopping. “Is that all?” I hear you asking. Yes, it is. And I loved every minute of it. For the first time in many years she has kept her room clean and tidy and she’s behaved in a loving and caring way. Not that she’s never done that before, however those calm and enjoyable moments lasted for two days at the most. With her permission, I'll share our story.
I have worked on our relationship for many years. The main problem was her room. I expected her to be responsible for it, and I would only supervise it. I hoped to make her more independent and teach her valuable skills, e.g. organisation, respect of deadlines, and health and safety. Nothing worked. And when I say nothing, I mean nothing. Nor the stick, the carrot or the sandwich method – allow her to do something she likes, and tell her to do her bedroom with the promise she could have more fun afterward. Nor working on myself with meditation, Theta Healing techniques and so on.
Her room was a war zone. Sometimes it was impossible to walk through it as the floor was covered with anything you can imagine. And in the past year she fiercely opposed my offer to help her clean it up. Well, enough was enough so a few months ago I stationed myself in her room and in a few days we got rid of everything she didn’t need anymore-mainly clothes, toys, and books.
We were so happy! Keeping the bedroom tidy would be so easy now, we thought. It wasn’t. Soon it went back to being messy, although not at the desperate level it had reached before.
The problem wasn’t just that it wasn’t clean and tidy, it was that it was a barrier between us. We didn’t spend time together because she had to clean her bedroom. She would spend days instead of a few hours a week because she would be side-tracked. Playing with her toys, reading books, using her tablet (only one hour a day) were the usual reasons why she wouldn’t finish her chore and have time to spend with me. Cleaning her bedroom was a never-ending task.
Moreover, once finished, she would be proud of her achievement. Nevertheless, she would plunge her bedroom in an awful mess again in the following hours.
Out of desperation, I convinced her to see a Child Well-being Consultant. Probably because she was already too old for this approach, the sessions didn’t help much.
Just before Christmas, the breakthrough.
On 20th December I had a massage with a new therapist, Ben Barnett from Holistic Therapies. During the massage, which I had while lying on a waterbed full of warm water (heaven!), he guided me through a visualisation aimed at improving my relationships in general and specifically with Sofia.
He understood the messages my body was sending me in the form of pain and stiff muscles, explained them to me and with the visualisation he helped me change the energy pattern of my relationships.
The result came quickly. No arguments with Sofia for the past two weeks, we guffawed many times especially when playing charades, and her bedroom is still pretty tidy. She’s even decided that she wants to eat in a more healthy way and she’s really impressed me.
What a wonderful way to finish 2017 and start 2018. And now I am very hopeful that my other troubled relationships and some other aspects of my life I'm working on with Ben will heal too.
May the New Year bring solutions to us all!
Here's the third and final part of my short story A New Beginning, published in the Folkestone 2014 Anthology.
If you've missed the previous parts, click part 1 and/or part 2 to read them.
A NEW BEGINNING