Monday, July 1, 2013

When A Neighbor Violates Boundaries

Most of us either have, or know someone who has the neighbor from hell.  That neighbor who drops by uninvited, has an opinion about everything, wants to hang out with you, brings his own beer while doing all of the above, or wants to tell you how to manage your home, your yard, your life.  You don’t have to move away, but you do need to set firm, concrete boundaries.  Let’s begin with the neighbor who drops by uninvited.  If you like uninvited drop ins, than not a problem.  However, if you don’t like uninvited drop ins, do not let your neighbor into your home.  Answer the door, step outside placing your body half in your home and half out, holding the door, and let your neighbor know you are busy at the moment and can’t visit.  Doing this a few times will usually give the message you intend, which is, please don’t stop by uninvited.  For some neighbors, you may even have to tell them you don’t like drop by visits, and that is nothing to do with them, it is your own issue.  The neighbor who wants to drink with you and sees you outside so decides to join you with his own 6-pack, may be a little more challenging.  You may have to gently but firmly tell them that you are busy with what you are doing and are not able to visit.  When that neighbor is advising you on how to manage and live your life, smile, thank them, and keep doing what you are doing.  Eventually, your difficult neighbor will look for someone much more fun to interact with and you will be able to wave as you go in and out of the neighborhood, with that being the extent of your relationship. If all else fails, you might have to tell your neighbor that you have a policy against developing a friendship with a neighbor in case something goes wrong and you prefer to keep your relationship pleasant but distant.  Remember, it takes two people to have a relationship.

We hope you enjoyed reading our blog.  Please like us on Facebook and share our blog with others.  We also would appreciate your comments and we are happy to consider your ideas for topics we can address in our blog.

Parenting Multiple Children

The question is, what do you do when you have two or more children close in age, and you have to be King Solomon and decide who is the instigator and who is really the culprit?  To begin with, you have to know your own children and what their pattern of interaction is with each other.  That being said, you may be wrong and you have to also know that.  If your children spend a lot of time together, especially in the summer, you may need to separate them with different activities, different camps at different times, or even playing in different rooms in the house.  Siblings tend to spend a lot of time together and it may be difficult for them to be generous with a younger sibling they experience as annoying or an older sibling they experience as mean.  With multiple children, it is more challenging to have a parent to yourself and not have to share.  If possible, it is helpful to spend time alone with each child, even if it is just going out for a walk or an ice cream.  

When your children are fighting and refuse to cooperative, share, or get along, instead of trying to figure out who started what, the bottom line is that everyone involved participated in the acting out.  Since everyone involved participated in the acting out, everyone gets a naturally occurring consequence, whether that be a time out (in different rooms with no toys), or a chore, or both.  After the consequence is completed, debrief your children and have them explain to you why they received a consequence.  If they are not able or willing to explain, than extend the consequence a short time and try again.  All consequences should be immediate, concrete, and short term.  Another chaotic time for families with multiple children is bedtime.  Rather than trying to put all your children to bed at the same time, stagger the bedtimes.  If you have a child that frequently gets out of bed, try sitting quietly with them as they fall off to sleep.  You may feel that you are losing time you could be doing other things, but in reality, you are probably gaining time and experiencing less frustration.  Children are not little adults and they do not yet have well developed problem solving skills.  You have to teach them problem solving skills, which is why having them explain why they were given a consequence is so important.  You want your child to learn to own their behavior and not just say you are a mean mom or dad.  By the way, if they do call you mean, or even the meanest mom in the world, accept it as a compliment, it means you are doing your job.

We hope you enjoyed reading our blog.  Please like us on Facebook and share our blog with others. We also would appreciate your comments and we are happy to consider your ideas for topics we can address in our blog.