Ditch that Summer Itch – what is really bugging you about your family this summer?
With the advent of summer, our days seem longer as the “busy” nature of our lives relents. The slower pace sheds light on issues previously ignored. For many families the “Big ITCH” is the reminder that our kids really aren’t being very nice to each other. For others, it might be that we are losing our temper more frequently, or that the chores aren’t being done by the kids and we are saving them yet again.
When light gets this bright, it might be easier to just throw on some shades. Alternatively, we can take advantage of the slower pace and the bright light, take off the blinders and really look at what is going on in our own family and take steps to DITCH THE ITCH!
Is our family where we want it to be?
Are our wants realistic?
What is your family’s biggest itch?
Now is a great time to ditch that itch; make a plan and set up some great habits while there is time and clarity to face it. It might sound daunting but you know that everyone will feel better when it is done (kind of like cleaning off the patio furniture).
Come on, let’s get started. We’ll even hold your hand:
1. What is the current script that is playing out in this situation? If it is happening regularly, there is a script… if you can’t figure it out, your kids know it for sure.
2. What do you want the situation to look like? Until you know what you really want from the situation, there is no way you can get there. Brainstorm some possible ideas and pick the one that fits your family right now…not 2 years from now when your kids are older and better behaved, NOW.
3. What limits need to be in place for that to happen? Is it about tone of voice, clothes being in the laundry hamper, or milk cartons being flattened before they make it into the recycling container? Be clear so that your kids can understand you.
4. What are the consequences of observing those limits AND of not observing them? We can help you with these if you are struggling. This is not about how much pain you can inflict on your child if he or she makes the wrong choice. That’s called punishment. This means…what are natural, logical outcomes of the choice they made:
Example: When you choose to take responsibility for your dishes; scrape them and load them into the dishwasher, you can head outside for bike riding. When you choose not to take responsibility for them, you will be here while others are bike riding… your choice.
5. Involving kids in steps 2 – 4 is a great idea. Just be sure that you know your bottom line first so that their ideas don’t trump where you really wanted to go with this.
Shine a little summer light on your life and see what blooms.