Advice: Family Matters

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WPRI.com
Dr. Rao - Are Parents also Addicted to technology?


Our Lives Out of Balance
Article by Dr. Rao, Excerpt

If you have a spouse, reclaim the relationship that predated kids. Kids are wonderful, but have a way of taking over everything the house's resources, living space, your private time and they also have a way of inserting themselves into the relationship you have with your loving adult mate. Balance the power out in your home. Adults should have more power. Parents should also have personal space and time, and not have to mediate every scratch or minor disappointment, or help on every homework assignment. Kids tend to over-rely on their parents and aren't above faking incompetence (it gets them out of chores and gets them lots of extra attention). This unnecessary dependence creates an overly kid-centered universe, and one that doesn't let you nurture your adult needs.

Related to this, stop referring to your spouse only as "mom" or "dad" in front of your kids. Your partner is not your parent. Remind kids that you love one another as adults, and need to spend time alone with each other. Read More.

"The Way of Boys"
Book by Dr. Rao and Michelle Seaton, Excerpt (p. 153-154)

Moms and dads need to remind themselves that a child's crying at day care drop-off, or while trying and failing to kick a soccer ball, is not like the pain you or I feel; his pain has a different purpose. It's an expression of not getting his way, of needing to shift gears and adapt to the world. He doesn't like that. His discomfort is developmental. It is not deeply emotional. It doesn't last like adult emotion. I tell parents to do an empathy check.

The empathy you feel for your son has helped you get this far as a parent. You needed it when he was a baby; you needed it to get up in the middle of the night to feed him.

. . . It is tempting to rush in with comfort, with hugs, with an insistence that he's going to be okay, that the situation upsetting him "isn't so bad." But as with a tantrum, your boy's confusion, his sadness, his embarrassment, can't be talked away or hugged away. He might have to cry a bit, feel embarrassed, then see the emotion fade away, as it will, in order to feel that he can get control of himself again. . . . The best you can do is say, "I know it's hard. I'll talk to you when you calm down." This is a battle he has to fight on his own. Book Info.