What do you do when one of your children are affecting the whole dynamic or schedule of the family? I’m a firm believer in the fact that decisions need to be made based on what is best for the whole, not usually the one. If it is impacting the whole adversely than things should probably be changed or reconsidered. There are things that you need to consider the one with, however, it still shouldn’t adversely affect the whole.
When one child makes a decision that changes your family dynamics it’s hard. You want what’s best for them but you have the rest of the family to consider also. If it’s something that adds more work for you it becomes even harder. We often need to decide what is best for not only the one but also the whole at the same time. How do you make the ultimate decision, even though it might upset them? What a balancing act, or is it a magic trick?
I’ve learned through my training as a foster parent and through raising kids that you need to pick your battles. I’m pretty good about not getting upset about the little things. However, when I don’t agree with something I can dig
my heels in. Don’t mess with me! After I am in a more rational thought, and have had some time to think about things, you might still be able to talk with me and talk me into your side.
Is there a better way to decided these things?
The first question to consider is how this decision will influence the whole family. We have already determined that it IS influencing the whole family, that’s why we are in this predicament. It’s always a good idea to sit down with your spouse and hash this out together first. What are the pros and cons that will, or might, happen if you make this decision? Look at both sides objectively, not just about what you want or are currently thinking is best.
After you have sat down and made a list together you might feel that you have enough info to make the decision on your own. Sometimes it’s something that you have decided goes outright against the rules or values of your home. In order to make this decision you need to have a clear idea of what the rules and values of your home are. It’s best if the kids already are aware of these and it doesn’t seem like you are making them up to suit your immediate purpose. Sometimes even if it does go against the rules, you might find that the rule wasn’t really as important as you where previously thinking. Are you just sticking to your guns with this rule or is it for the betterment of the child and/or family?
You might need to continue on into a family or individual discussion
If it is then determined that it doesn’t necessarily go against the rules are values of the home it’s time for a individual or family discussion. You will need to determine which of these discussions is more appropriate for the situation with your spouse. You are also allowed to change your mind in mid conversation if it looks like the discussion has changed to something you weren’t expecting.
As you sit down with the child or family, talk about each others concerns. Give each person a chance to express their concerns without interruption. It would make the child feel like they are being heard more if you let them start. When it is your turn don’t use it as a chance to argue all of their points. Just tell your concerns.
Most important to remember is to keep calm. If you need to take a break, do it.
Now is the time to discuss the answers to this topic. Again, let the child start. They may have an idea that you would have never thought of and it’s an amazing solution. Do NOT argue about why their plan is wrong at this point. Let everyone give their solutions. It might help to write these down so that you don’t forget anything or make anyone feel their idea wasn’t important.
After everyone has had their turn it’s time to start narrowing down the choices. At this point let the child choose the ones that he/she feels aren’t good choices. As they do this you can cross them out so that they know that they are gone from the discussion. If they select something to cross out that you don’t want taken off the table yet, don’t argue about. Simply tell them that you aren’t ready to take that one off the table and put a mark next to it to indicate that you want to come back to it.
Now that all the choices left are ones that could actually work, the hard part starts. Again, start with the child giving their opinion on these choices. When it is your turn do not shoot down their ideas and feelings, they are real. Simply state you reasoning for yea or nah on each of the choices. This often naturally brings out the best solution. You have taken the time to respect each other and your ideas.
How does it affect the family as a whole?
If you are still at odds the main thing to consider it how it will affect the whole family. You, and your spouse, need to discuss this alone again. This time use all the new information that you have gained from the other discussion. Don’t stick to your guns just because you are the parent and they should respect you. That isn’t how you gain respect. Letting them know that you love them and are really doing what’s best for them is how you gain respect.
Your decision may very well upset the child but that’s called parenting. I watched a video online a few months ago that put parenting into perspective a little for me. She said we aren’t supposed to be our child’s best friend. That would be weird and pathetic to say our best friend is half our age; get a friend your own age. Parent your child while they are young and be their best friend when they are grown. I LOVE that!