1201 11th Street, Suite 200 B, Bellingham, WA 98225
Phone: 360-393-8755

Play By the Bay, Inc. ~ Bellingham Play Therapy


MOM'S HOUSE/DAD'S HOUSE
HOW TO HELP CHILDREN TRANSITION BETWEEN TWO HOMES

Can you imagine celebrating your child's return from the "other parent?"

You're into organic, glueten free, healthy food and even some discipline thrown in but the "other parent" lives on junk food, video games and no rules and erratic, non-helpful consequences. Or you guys get along, and still your child(ren) struggle with the back and forth consumed with grief over the loss of their first home. How can parents turn this challenging transition time into a time of celebration regardless of circumstances?

THE FIRST THING TO KNOW AND REMEMBER IS THAT IF YOU ARE UPSET AND SO IS YOUR CHILD YOU ARE BOTH OPERATING FROM THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN; THE SIDE THAT FEELS, PROCESSES AND EXPRESSES BIG FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS. The right brain is impossible to reason with and cannot think of solutions. YOUR LEFT BRAIN MAY NOT BE ENGAGED AT ALL AND CERTAINLY YOUR CHILD'S ISN'T. THE GOAL IS TO CONNECT TO THE RIGHT-BRAIN FEELINGS by agreeing with what your child is saying/feeling and then making the corrections later. As you agree with your child's feelings they will eventually calm down - AND AS SOON AS POSSIBLE SHIFT INTO LEFT BRAIN OR LOGICAL SOLUTIONS when they calm down. Any and all corrections or solutions will not be happening until you learn and practice this secret.

THE DO'S:

  • DO LET YOUR CHILD CALL the other parent (USUALLY NOT AT BED-TIME OR WHEN BEING DISCIPLINED) BUT A.M. CALLS CAN BE NICE OR WHEN THEY WANT TO SHARE SOMETHING SPECIAL.

  • DO STAY AS CALM (ROBOT VOICE) AND CORDIAL AS POSSIBLE WITH EACH OTHER AND YOUR KIDS.

  • DO practice AGREEING WITH YOUR CHILD ON THE FEELING LEVEL. DON'T CONDONE NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR JUST AGREE WITH THE FEELINGS. When you agree with the feelings, kids calm down (sooner than later) THEN you can shift your child into the left-brained solutions and also correct bad language or behavior after the shift.

  • DO ARRANGE EXCHANGES TO LAND NEAR A RESTURANT, PARK, IN-DOOR PLAY PLACE AND SO ON IN ORDER TO RUN OFF THE PHYSICAL ENERGY OF EMOTION. PREPARE SNACKS AND GAMES FOR THE CAR. HAVE BIG PAPER AND CRAYONS OR MARKERS AT HOME TO SCRIBBLE OUT THE ENERGY EVEN IN THE CAR. RUN AROUND THE CAR UNTIL EXHAUSTED, MAKE IT PIZZA NIGHT, HAVE A SLICE IN THE CAR? MAKE IT FUN TO COME BACK.

  • DO INVEST IN SOME SIMPLE, INEXPENSIVE MEGAPHONES OR MICROPHONES AND ASK YOUR CHILD IF THEY CAN TURN "THAT" (whining/nagging/complaining/crying) INTO A SONG AND USE YOUR PHONE OR CAMERA TO "SHOW HIS SIBLINGS, GRANDPARENTS, OTHER PARENT, ETC." (THEY LOVE IT) - SHIFT THE BODY ENERGY BY singing and dancing about the anger or feeling upset.

  • IF POSSIBLE FOR THE KIDS' SAKE, GET THEM HOME BY 3:00 P.M. (4:00 P.M. THE LATEST) ON WEEKENDS REGARDLESS OF PARENTAL NEEDS. IF YOU CAN, MAKE A DINNER DATE TO RE-COUP THE TIME.
THE DON'TS:

  • DO NOT DRIVE YOUR CAR WITH UPSET KIDS: HAVE A PLAN B.

  • If your child is screaming out-of-control do keep your backseat empty of things to throw and do pull over, grab the keys and lock your child in the car. Stand right outside of the car until they calm down. Even little children know you should not be driving while screaming.

  • DON'T TRY TO CORRECT BEHAVIOR OR REASON WITH A MELTING-DOWN CHILD.

  • DON'T INTERROGATE YOUR CHILDREN.

  • DON'T SAY NEGATIVE THINGS ABOUT THE OTHER PARENT.

  • DO NOT USE YOUR CHILDREN TO RELAY OR SEND MESSAGES OR "SPY" ON THE OTHER PARENT.

  • DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU HEAR; CHILDREN TRY TO PLEASE THE PARENT THEY ARE WITH.

  • DON'T MAKE AN ISSUE OVER WHO BOUGHT THE CLOTHES, TOYS, ETC. WORK THIS OUT BETWEEN THE ADULTS, IN MEDIATION OR GIVE YOUR MONEY TO AN ATTORNEY UNTIL YOUR CHILD'S EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING BECOME MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE ISSUES AND BEING RIGHT. IF POSSIBLE, HAVE ALL THAT YOU NEED FOR YOUR KIDS AT YOUR HOUSE!

  • DON'T FORGET HOW HARD THIS IS FOR THEM AND VALIDATE THAT; REMEMBER TO ACKNOLWEDGE THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO BACK AND FORTH.
YES IT'S A LOT OF HARD WORK AND PREPARATION BUT HELPING WITH TRANSITIONS TIME IS SOOOO WORTH THE EFFORT!!!

THE IDEA IS TO DETONATE THE INNER BOMB BEFORE IT EXPLODES!