Sunday, January 25, 2009


Not a vacation from parenting your child...but a vacation from the drama which sometimes surrounds your child.    A short break.  Respit/e if you will.

Try this:

Focus on the children in the home who are making healthy and appropriate choices.  

Do not correct or discipline poor choices from the one who is resisting/pushing away/struggling.  

Acknowledge the poor choice to the rest of the family..."Yes, Soandso is doing something very inappropriate right now. Isn't that sad?"  But no correction.  No discipline.   If you made that same would be disciplined....but right now, Mommy and Daddy and you guys (siblings) are on vacation from the drama of Soandso.  So, let's go in the other room and do something fun!  

Play with the ones who are doing well.  Affirm them.  Praise them.  Give them the attention that is often robbed from them...the attention they desperately need and deserve.  

When Soandso asks to join in the all means...include her/him but don't initiate.  The goal is to have him/her realize that the sun does not rise and set on their drama......and to spark a desire in her/his heart to play....and join in.  

Tell all of your children the plan.  We are leaving the house to go to Costco in one hour.  We need to get ourselves ready.  Brush teeth, fix hair, get everyone dressed...all set to go.  Soandso gets zero attention due to the fact that she/he usually bucks the system and causes a scene at times like this.  You are on vacation from the drama.  When on do not need to be rejected and turned away at every opportunity.  Siblings do not need to center their lives around power plays and center of attention behavior.  If Soandso is not ready by the time the family climbs into the minivan....they get to go warehouse shopping in their p.j.'s with bedhead.  On the other hand, if he/she asks for help in getting ready....give all means.   No drama.  

If drama erupts....address how inappropriate it is to the others who are watching and walk away.    

Always meet the expressed needs (if they are appropriate) of Soandso
 "I'm hungry."..............  "Oh,'s some delicious food." 
 "I'm tired."..................  Okay, Love.......time for your warm cozy bed.  

If Soandso never says  "I'm hungry"...provide food anyway.  If Soandso never says, "I'm tired and I want to go to bed".....leave them where they are.  Worse comes to worse...they collapse on the living room floor and sleep near the t.v.  

We all did that growing up.....didn't we?  When we were on vacation....camped out on the floor safe and secure....surrounded by a large family who loved us :)

Now, at some point in time....we must return from our vacations....and discipline our children because we love them.  But I do believe that vacations refresh our souls and the souls of those we travel with...and that each one brings with it experiences, insights,  and lessons learned to carry us into our futures.  

We are still pursuing our children when we are on vacation....just in a different way.  Make sure they know you and the rest of the family are taking a much needed vacation from their drama and be sure to teach them the lesson that each and every one of us tries to avoid but must learn eventually.  All vacations must come to an end because life in the real world is waiting.  



Bill and Christina said...

Great advice. Thanks.


Jodi said...

This works! As I always find with our little RAD girl. I never give her a raction to her drama. Slowly but surly she is giving up. Many times the drama requires discpline, even to the point of a full wrestling match. I have learned to do this robotically with very little effort shown and no emotion. Always after, oddly enough something fun happens with the other children ( wink wink). After being left out and sobbbing sorry for hours, with no one seeming to care...she finds her efforts are worthless and go unnoticed. Only the children who choose to be a healthy part of family interactions are included. Our 11 year old son after 4 months of being home quickly found out there is no bucking the system around here. When Miss. Rad said, " I am going back to Haiti!" I said, " There is the door, go." I said this matter a fact no emotion. She was stunned. Dead silence from other children. Soon she said, " I am sorry, I want to stay here.". My replay well that is a good choice, and then hugs.
Again your advice is dead on. If we allow the bad behavior it will continue. If in our efforts to discipline we end up giving them alot of attention they will even, if it is negative seek our attention that way. It is a fine line. Thanks for your input! Jodi