Frustration Part VIII

What do you do when you realize your child has become the idol or the family terrorist?

1.  Don’t engage in a power struggle.

“It is a grave mistake to try to overpower a power drunk child.  It is also futile.  In the ensuing battle, which becomes chronic, the child merely develops greater skill in using his power and finds greater reason to feel worthless unless he can demonstrate it.” – Children the Challenge

One of the things we have done in the Guire home when a particular child seems to be ruling the roost, i.e. stealing candy from others, flinging hurtful words, for an extended period is to have family court.

Family Court
The family sits around the dining room table and the crimes are listed.  The accused must listen.  Afterwards, the offended talk among themselves and decides the sentence.  The sentences decided have been various: do the dishes for a week, do the chore of the one you robbed for a week, pay x amount until you have paid the debt, say five nice things to everyone before you leave the table.

Family court puts the perpetrator in his place without mom and dad constantly engaged in a power struggle with the child.  He has to face his accusers.  It give him a chance to see where he stands.  If everyone in the family is upset, he should want to make amends.  It is real life.  If you steal, slander someone’s good name, trespass, destroy property or harass someone when you are a grown-up, you will go to court and be sentenced for the crime.

Of course, mom or dad must be the judge and not let the family court get out of hand and the accused doesn’t end up doing everyone’s chores for a year.

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