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Our Mandated Time at Home--What It Can Reveal
Thursday, March 26, 2020 by Carol Ambrose, Licensed Counselor

 Pulling your hair out over household conflict?  During this abundance of home time, a shocking reality may emerge: The parents/guardians, in effect, are not really in charge...In truth, it is the kids! What happened?  

The modern “default” family pattern may have taken root:   Fast-paced, electronically-saturated, possibly substance-abusing.  Along with these comes the myth that truth is what we want it to be.

What can we do right now?  Here is one idea:  First, try gaining the cooperation of other adults in the house.  If not, move forward anyway.  Give yourself a couple of days to consider:

  1. What positives have come out during this time?  What family members make that a reality?

      2.  In what areas do you feel pushed, criticized, even defeated?  List the main players there, as well.

      3.  What is best time and place for a household meeting, “talk session,” or whatever term comes across positive.

           Calmly post and/or announce details of meeting. 

           --If someone refuses to attend, don’t cajol.  Just let that person know that there will be decisions made at meeting, by those present.  

           --Plan a treat just afterwards.

           --Parent or an older child then starts the meeting, stating the main goal: Identify sources of conflict.

           -- An older child can record ideas.  The goal is to generate ideas, rather than offer opinions.

           –Parent identifies a very specific topic for discussion. Suppose it is regarding the dinner hour bringing confusion, arguing, etc.  Ask for  ideas.  They may include timing, who is cooking, who cleans up, what electronics are prohibited while eating, what signals permission to get up, what consequence comes if violated.

           --Keep first meetings fairly short, summarize at end, and go for your treat!   

Note:  With each family meeting, problems will be addressed one-by-one.  It is likely that a given meeting will not be perfect, especially at first.  That is OK.  Just glean the positives and put them in practice.  Over time, things should change for the better.








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