Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Prepare for the Holidays

Granted, we’ve just gotten our kids back to school, but the holidays are sneaking up on us. And life with Acting Out Kids, no matter the age, gets even more complicated during those family events. Now is the time to start laying a plan.
Think about the holidays your family might normally celebrate.
*New Year
*Add Your Own
It is well known that when our children are young, the change in schedule that holidays bring causes our children to test their boundaries. It is as though they have forgotten all the rules or just decide to challenge them.
As our kids grow older, expectations shift – but the Acting Out Kid gets harder to live with, rather than maturing into the family dynamic. Time to decide on your boundaries and make a plan.
-What are your typical problems? What has happened with your challenging child in the past that makes you dread this holiday?
-Why do you celebrate? Is this holiday one you love? Can you avoid it? Can you celebrate it with others? (At other’s home, school, church, the mall?)
- What is your budget? Set one and stick to it! Start the adult habit of giving modest tokens of your affection. Encourage your kids to do the same. Resolve to spend X amount on food/gift/travel.
- What is the ‘feeling’ you are going for? Remember, we are unlikely to get ‘warm and fuzzy’ from our disgruntled kids.
One Mom suggested her out of control son (no longer living at home) meet the family at church on Christmas, and then they would exchange gifts while enjoying a meal at a local restaurant. We celebrated Thanksgiving at church since many in our group had Acting Out Kids. We had a lovely time, without the stress and drama that we would have had at home. You could also try the Lura’s Holiday Captain Method. Let each family member decide which holiday they love the most. That person then chairs the committee for making that holiday ‘happen’ (parents still control the budget and boundaries). The disgruntled, perfectionistic kid may become much less so when he/she is in charge.
So, get your gray cells working on the holidays. And get yourself to your local StandUp Parenting support group where you can get more ideas and help to make your plan happen.

Monday, September 10, 2007


If you've ever flown on a commercial airline, the flight protocol and emergency proceedures are surely stuck in your brain. Seatbelts on. Tray in the upright position. Lightstrips running the floor of the cabin. Your seat can be used as a flotation device. And those oxygen masks: they'll drop down automatically, you place yours over you nose and mouth and secure the elastic, then you help your neighbor or child secure their mask's.
Take care of yourself first!
You can't help someone else if you are struggling for air - you'll both end up passing out. If we are exhausted and our resources drained, we are in no position to be effective helpers for our friends or family.
Parents who are newly arrived in our StandUp Parenting support groups are often exhausted shadows of their original selves. They have been in crisis mode for days, weeks and, sometimes, years.
Is this you?
Have you worked hard to get your kids good nutrition, counseling and education? Have you struggled to make sure they have their health needs met, are up to date on their inocculations and get enough sleep?
Can you say the same for yourself?
You've been through a harrowing time - have you gotten counseling, just for you? When was the last time you saw a doctor? Are you up to date on your routine screenings - mammogram or prostate? Are you getting exercise? Balanced and regular meals?
Remember - when you take care of yourself you are modeling good self-care to your children. You are also telling them that you value yourself.
Do these things seem hard to do? You are exhausted, after all. Consider joining a StandUp parent support group. Not only will you get ideas to deal with your family problems, you will also find ideas and support to take care of yourself. You're worth it!