For many of us, summertime brings one of the best times of the year: family vacation. Regardless of your chosen destination, family vacation offers the opportunity to strengthen relationships between family members and build great memories that will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, some families dread this time spent together as it brings to the forefront of long-standing disagreements and challenges. Whether it’s older children that have grown apart, or if you are parent(s) of a young child that suffers from behavioral challenges, there are several strides you can take to ensure your family time is enjoyable for everyone together.
Calm Conversation is Key
Arguments can often ratchet up from simple conversations between siblings, or parent(s) and child. These conversations turn to arguments when we let our emotions get the best of us. What this means for you is it is best to serve as the levelheaded mediator when your children go off the rails. Allow each child to take time to speak their mind, and ensure they don’t shout over each other. This is especially key if it is you and your child having the disagreement. It is easy for your children to get carried away if you yourself are not exhibiting behaviors that help work towards resolution, not conflict. Always seek a clear ending to a discussion, don’t let unpleasant feelings fester over the course of your time together.
Inclusivity Makes Everyone Happier
One problem families often run into while on vacation together is the clash of everyone’s individual ideas of how they want the vacation to go. The best strategy to avoid stepping on each other’s toes is set aside time for each different idea. Do activities one child favors one day, and other activities another favors another day. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in a defined list of things you’re supposed to do on a vacation and hold everyone around you to your own preconceived notions of what time together is supposed to be like. If you’re vacationing with older teens and adult children, they may want to spend some time apart. Remember that this is a natural part of growing up, and learning to come to terms with independent experiences.
Disorders Don’t Disappear
One common misconception parents of children with behavioral disorders often think is that the environment of vacation will somehow miraculously change the behaviors of their children. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and is something any parent planning a vacation must take into account; in fact, deviating from your normal routine can cause more stress and therefore more negative behaviors. As such, it is also important to not completely relax the structures you’ve put in place at home to help manage problematic behaviors of your children. Dealing with this behavior requires consistency, even while on vacation. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to have fun. Rather, it is just a reminder that a week away from home should not be an excuse to let up on any progress you and your family have made towards addressing the behavioral issues of children suffering from challenges and disorders.
Perhaps your child is not a healthy enough place where you feel like your family could all manage to work through the behaviors together. The Attachment Place understands this, which is why we provide both short and long-term respite to families of children with behavioral issues. Our proven process helps to ensure that we can address the root of the problem so that your next family vacation can be one everyone gets to enjoy.