By: Dr. Dani Vandiviere
Originally posted January 22, 2016
I received a phone call from a dear friend today who was at her wits end. Yes, her kids had only been home less than one day due to snow but the forecast was calling for at least three more days barricaded inside the war zone her kids were making. Frantically she disclosed the issues and we worked to come up with a resolution.
Her daughter an active high school junior was complaining because she couldn’t go shopping with her BFFs, so she wants to have a sleep over tonight so they could shop online. Her eldest son is fourteen and bugging her about going ahead and buying his first car since he got recent birthday money from the grandparents, and he said he and dad could park it in the garage and work on it when his dad got back from his conference next week. Last but not least was her sweet little ten-year-old son who wanted to play with power tools to build something in the living room because he could not find anything to do!
She wanted help, but also ideas to keep them busy. I adore her and her kids, but they were out of control and she was losing it. With three intelligent kids we tossed around some ideas to bring peace to her house. I had an idea last year that I used last winter with a neighbor that I thought might work this time too. My friend has been doing a project for the past few weeks to surprise her mother with the family ancestry and loves it, she was a history major in college. So I made a suggestion that would play to the interests of all three kids and help her calm down as well.
She would bring the kids together and they would pick a time in history from the family tree and see what life was like back then. They would find a man and a woman and look at what certain months in their lives would have been like. The daughter would look for fashion at that time and then draw designs using various ideas to modernize what she saw and take something from today and design it for back then. Accessories included of course!
The boys would work on researching the tools, transportation and how things were built and of course what the kids played with.
Actually, it worked! When my friend called back all was at peace and kids were enjoying it and they are also working together. As for the BFFs, only the one who lived within walking distance came for the night and she is having as much fun as everyone else.
Being a parent is the most difficult job in the world. Any opportunity you have to work with the strengths and interests of your children is a winner. You not only show them you have paid attention to the things they like to do, but it also gives them a sense of belonging and since you did notice that, you really do care.