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Handling Pet Peeves

Andrea Ramsay Speers - Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What do you do when your usually charming and adorable kids display less than appealing habits?  Perhaps they crack their knuckles, or leave the tv on after they've finished watching it, or insist on reliving the most hysterical parts of the movie they just watched? 

As much as you love them, kids can be annoying.  These little petty problems are great things to bring up at a family meeting, where you can voice your...aggravation, and put it on the table for some joint problem solving.  It models how to express your feelings in a respectful (for both of you) way, and how to ask for what you need within a spirit of compromise.  Your child might take this opportunity to point out a few annoying habits of your own.  And if she does, this is a great opportunity to demonstrate how to compromise and work at meeting each other's needs.  In a family, no one person's feelings or requests take precedence over anyone else's (unless it comes to matters of physical or moral danger, of course -- but I'm sure you've figured that out already).

But in the meantime, scrap the nagging.  They're not listening anyway, so direct your energy to activities that are more likely to net you results.  And remember that although these issues may be relatively minor, you're setting the stage for discussion about those bigger issues.  If you show your kids now that you're the type of person who handles conflict and problems with respect and an eye to discovering solutions instead of blaming and putting your foot down, they may just take you up on it later when the stakes are higher.

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Andrea Ramsay Speers • Psychotherapist & Parent Coach • Oakville Family Institute • 175 Glenashton Dr., Oakville ON • Tel.: 905-491-6949

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