Q. My eight-year-old son has a terrible attitude when it comes to playing any kind of competitive game. If he starts to lose, he throws a tantrum and has even thrown the game pieces across the room. How can I teach him to accept the outcome, whatever it may be?
A. Focus on the attitude. If your son is going to fulfill the potential of his aptitude and live his life to the fullest, he will need the right attitude. Ask him about what’s really going on – even if he can’t articulate it. Allow him time to think about it until he can put words to it, return and discuss. You will send the message that the attitude is a roadblock. Many children and adolescents will focus on surface issues as reasons for off-track attitudes, such as frustration over a challenge they are facing. Try to help your son identify the underlying issues, which is the attitude toward challenge. Use examples of how you may struggle similarly and offer up ways you work to overcome your own unproductive attitudes. Remember the adage, nothing can help the person with the wrong attitude, nothing can stop the person with the right one. Let this be the premise by which you help your son work through his struggles.
Q. My two daughters are constantly comparing themselves to each other; their body sizes, grades, number of friends, etc. It is hard to watch them struggle through these differences, and I worry they are not supporting each other as they should. Do I step in or let them work this out?
A. What you are describing reads as pretty typical interaction between siblings versus out-of-control behavior. Given that, keep the weight of your foot in letting your daughters work this out together, unless things spiral out of control. Trust the foundation you have provided for them in the form of the principles you have defined as important to your family, such as respect and concern for one another. Working out differences with each other in their own time and way will provide countless learning opportunities for them. Take advantage of the moments you have with them (when they are not arguing) to talk about struggles you had with your own siblings or friends in the past, how you handled them, what you are most proud of, and what you think you could have handled in a better way.
Q. In our family, we are all incredibly busy and, to some degree, leading independent lives. As a result, the house can feel like Grand Central Station and it is hard to connect with each other. What suggestions do you have to bring more cohesiveness and unity to our family?
A. We believe that almost all families can relate to this on some level. In our book, we talk about creating a character culture in the home by using a three-point plan:
- Get a job
- Weekly family meetings
- Mandatory fun
Usually, things begin to break down in a family when there is a disconnect—when everyone is running in different directions. Sticking to this plan sends the message that no matter how hectic life becomes, family is important. [intlink id=”3514″ type=”post”]CLICK HERE[/intlink] to learn more about the three-point plan. What we pay attention to is what we reinforce in the family. If we give our children our full attention only when there is a problem, think about what we are really saying about what is important.
If you are looking for more tips on building on stronger family unit, contact Pam Hardy of The Biggest Job today.