Parental Democracy

We had an excellent in house session with our therapist. Then again, we had to modify the environment this time for the session, as my youngest daughter had a struggle with interacting with me this afternoon at home. You ever have a sense that something appears off in the way people are talking to you or looking at you, and that no matter how much you want for the situation to work out in your favor it just doesn’t? Welcome to my afternoon.

I won’t dwell on the details- it was a combination of struggling to listen to directions, a series of verbal attacks on myself and my oldest daughter followed by a tantrum. We had to leave the house and I didn’t feel like coming back anytime soon, so our in house therapist met us out at a local bookstore. We spent an hour discussing the problems and possible solutions- yet our youngest didn’t want to be an active part of the discussion.

As a result, we may have to change the way we handle matters in the home. The therapist let her know that if she doesn’t want to make the effort to be a part of the family, that we may have to run her care much like a group home. My youngest has ideas for what seems to be wrong in everyone else’s behavior- but unwilling to work on this in her own life. She’s supposed to work on her ideal family plan until our next session.

She didn’t like hearing that there’s no democracy within a family right now for her. She needs to accept her role as a sister and daughter. Everyone seems to be doing a lot more work as she sits in the background, complaining about what she doesn’t like or doesn’t want but doesn’t know how to get herself out of this mess. It’s as if the only way to show if she cares is by watching chaos swirl around and making everyone else unhappy in her immediate family.

I’m glad that outside resources are realizing that we have a huge challenge on our hands. My job is to figure out a more effective communication style that probably differs from how our oldest is. The therapist wanted my oldest daughter to explain why she accepts us as her parents and doesn’t fight as much anymore. She realizes that the love, care and support she desires is there and we fulfill her needs, so she’s fine with this. We all want our youngest to do the same, but I guess it’s going to happen when she feels ready. Change only happens when the person or the desire is strong enough to do it.

Until next time, realize that you are doing a great disservice if you cater to your child’s every want and need. Respect, listening, communication, and tone of voice really matter. Don’t hesitate to ask your children what they notice about you and what they think they would like for an ideal family. Be prepared to hold your children to those same standards that they want from you. It’s a continual work in progress.


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