A mirror and logo representing IMAGO parenting at Moving Forward: Therapy & Coaching

One of the first principles we learn in parent coaching is how to listen. We’re not simply talking about hearing what’s being said, but absorbing it, reflecting on it, and putting our finger on what someone’s sharing. This way, we can understand that person’s truth

Mirroring and Conscious Parenting

IMAGO Parenting takes this concept one step further. It’s all about mirroring to demonstrate we understand what someone is experiencing. When we practice “mirroring,” we focus on the present. When someone hears their own words, it’s cathartic. It also gives everyone time to slow down, reflect, and process what’s being said. 

It sounds so simple. Yet, it’s difficult and takes time to master. But it’s worth it. Mirroring is profound and can make all the difference when it comes to “conscious parenting” as opposed to “reactive parenting.”

I’ve been lucky to have a wealth of experience working with children. Not just as a parent coach and parent myself—I also spend each day with students ranging from K-10th grade. As an Education Director, I’m often seen as the last stop before parents are brought into a behavioral crisis. 

Let’s talk about Ruth 

A few weeks ago, a 4th-grade student named Ruth (not her real name) was acting poorly in class. She refused to participate in the lesson and was non-verbal, angry, and withdrawn. She was defiant. She managed to get her hands on a Chromebook and refused to return it to the teacher. In frustration, I was asked to step in. Using my training, here is what I did:

We entered an empty classroom and sat opposite one another. Ruth wouldn’t raise her head to look at me and sat defensively, arms crossed and angry. 

I began

Me: What’s going on today Ruth? 

Ruth: Nothing. *Shrugs*

Me: I hear you say ‘nothing, am I correct?’ 

Ruth: *Shrugs again*

Me: I was told that you didn’t want to give the Chromebook back to the teacher, is that correct?

Ruth: *Shrugs*

Me: I guess that you really wanted that Chromebook for something important. Does that sound right?

Ruth: Yes. 

Me: Tell me more about the need for a Chromebook. I’m curious.  

Ruth raised her head and shared the following:

Ruth: Well, I was looking at my grades on the school portal because it’s almost grading time and I need to complete some assignments. I also wanted to play a game. 

Here is where IMAGO Parenting came to the rescue

Me: So you’re saying that you wanted the Chromebook because you wanted to check on grades as you are concerned about completing all the assignments and you also wanted to play games. Did I hear you correctly?

Ruth: Yes, and I REALLY wanted to see my grades and what needs to be done. 

Me: It was important for you to see your grades. It made sense to take the Chromebook and do that. Am I getting you? 

Ruth: Yes, it’s really important.

Me: I hear that you are anxious about your schoolwork and want to do well so you decided to focus on that rather than on the lesson that took place today. Am I correct?

At this point, Ruth was no longer sitting stiffly with arms folded. She was leaning towards me and looking me in the eye. 

Me: Well, I understand why you felt the way you did. But it’s also important to do what’s being asked of you now. Do you agree?

Ruth: Yes. 

Me: I don’t want you to think that we don’t understand as I know that it makes sense for you to focus on what’s most in your mind at this moment but it’s also important to participate. Do you understand what I’m saying?

After she agreed, I asked her to repeat what I said and then we talked about how she was going to focus today and then talk to her mom about the schoolwork she is so anxious about later on. 

Child and parent playing piano, demonstrating the transformative power of IMAGO parenting

The Transformation

Kids are just like us; we all want to be understood. 

The transformation from an angry, defiant, and unhappy child into one who is more relaxed, can listen, and can work with the teacher, is amazing. 

It doesn’t take threats, raising of voices, or authoritarian language and serious consequences. It’s all about being understood and given validation and empathy. There is no need to impose authority or use harsh language or tone. 

If we can show curiosity, listen to how and what is said to us, and reflect on it, we can diffuse the issues. 

As humans, all of our emotional behavior reflects the needs we have. We are often unconscious of the behavior and its connection to those needs. 

By being curious, slowing down the conversation, and de-escalating, we can listen to ourselves, ponder why we are acting the way we are, and then bring this to our consciousness. 

For a child even more than an adult, what is perceived as poor behavior is the non-verbal expression of a deeper need that is being unmet. By addressing the need, we unlock the reason for the behavior or dysregulation. This approach is central to IMAGO Parenting and is a core principle in parent coaching and conscious parenting.

Talk to Moshe—Experienced Parenting Coach

Hi, I’m Moshe. As a Parent Coach and parent myself, I’ve seen firsthand how challenging parenting can be.

With over 30 years of experience working with families, I’ve learned that no parent should face these struggles alone. My family and child-centered approach is rooted in the belief that every family deserves support and help to create unity and improve outcomes for their children.

I believe in Conscious Parenting—an approach to raising children that emphasizes self-awareness, empathy, and mindfulness to create a nurturing and developmentally supportive environment.

Want to be the best parent you can be?

Contact me today for a complimentary 45-minute “discovery” coaching session—and take the first step towards a more grounded, organized, and fulfilling parenting journey.

Moshe Ben-Lev, parenting coach, with blue shirt and collar against a purple backdrop