|Changing Family Patterns Sociology|
Whatever the age of your child, you need to make a commitment to yourself to stop telling and stop yelling. If you want to change your family life, you are going to have to begin that change.
There are a number of things parents can do that are likely to optimize bright kids' neurochemistry and improve their moods. The aim is for you to calm the torrid seas rather than fueling the fires of battle.
For those of you who have been feeling bailed up and tormented by a bright kid, this is going to sound unfair: if a family is to improve, the first people who are going to have to change what they do are the parents. Let's put this as a golden rule:
Farnilies change only when the parents change what they do.
Parents of bright kids get lots and lots of practice in telling their children to do the right thing. It becomes such a habit that it can be hard for parents to give it up. Even worse, the bright kids themselves are so used to being told (and then reacting against it) that they also don't know what to do when their parents stop telling. It may not be that the things you've been saying are bad or wrong, it's just that the very act of telling and reminding them perpetuates the very behaviors you want to see less of.
During this first step, don't expect too much of your bright kid. Don't get fussed. Access that long-forgotten implacable, calm, carefree you. The aim of the first step is to begin changing the mood of your home.
If usual chores don't get done, quietly and calmly do them yourself, preferably when your child is out of the house. Remember, your aim is to change a whole family pattern - and that's more important than having your child remember to feed the goldfish.
If you feel the situation is too grave or life-threatening to take a break, get some professional assistance either for your child or - if she won't take it - for yourself. Life is too short and too precious for you to be spending it panicking.
As an aside, Manipulator kids will very quickly sense a change in family patterns. This may cause some of them to do things to try to please you. While this can be lovely for any fired, overworked, overwrought parent, be careful not to let them use their helpful behaviors to manipulate you.
All you have to do is create a feeling of belonging for your bright kid. Belonging is the essence of resilience. It is the most powerful antidote we know of for suicide, violence, and drug abuse. Bright kids need to have loads and loads of resilience, and where they get the strongest dose of it is from you.
Belonging offers a remedy for the fears of childhood - rejection, isolation, and abandonment. Bright kids fear these more than other children.
When family life has been torrid, the sense of belonging in the family often deteriorates. In Step 2 we consider how to build it back up. Building resilience and belonging in a family requires:
- a strategy for creating belonging,
- building a culture of cooperation, and
- being clear about what you want.