Tom and Kelly were at their wits end. The couple had three children: an eleven-year-old (Kim) and 8-year-old twins (Simon & Cyril). Kim was a handful for both parents, and the twins were quickly following in their older sister’s footsteps. They sought help at the local county Mental Health services division one afternoon, and that’s when they were referred to one of our Family Support Services programs at Bridges of Hope. Both parents were very excited–and just a little apprehensive–about the program, which works one-on-one with families in their home over a brief, but very intensive, period of time. During the first couple of meetings with me, they shared how they felt embarrassed that their children were so out of control and expressed doubts about whether it might already be too too late for them to take back the control.
In particular, mornings were awful for the family, because Tom left for work early, leaving Kelly to get everyone up, fed, and out the door on time. There was a lot of fighting and crying, and a lot of stress and frustration for Kelly as she also attempted to get herself ready. Kelly was spending the ten-minute ride to school lecturing the kids amid tantrums and more squabbling. By the time she got to work (about 5 minutes late) every day, Kelly’s nerves were fried. In addition, she was doing all of the housework for the family; and in the evenings, homework time and bedtime were a continuation of the “nightmare.” Tom and Kelly had even stopped going out together as a family, because of their embarrassment over their kids’ behaviors.
I was able to assure them they were not alone and that many parents struggle with these kinds of parenting challenges. I was already hosting Love and Logic classes for several families with children around the same ages, so I invited them to join the class. They had been to “Love and Logic “a few years back, but they admitted to never really using it much and were willing to give it a fresh try this time around. Over the next five weeks, they attended the weekly evening class, where the group watched a Love and Logic DVD and then each shared one technique that they planned to try at home with their children that week.
Kelly admitted the class felt like date night–the kids were with a babysitter and they could just enjoy some (peaceful!) time together. Tom really took the “one technique” implementation to heart right away, and the couple reported that the kids were really responding well to him. Kelly, a self-described “control freak,” admitted she had a harder time letting go of things and allowing the children to be responsible for their own mistakes (and the consequences). My role during some of the home visits would be to help both parents figure out how to “tweek” the Love and Logic techniques to meet their needs. We also set weekly goals for the family. Over time, life REALLY changed for Kelly–and for the family as a whole. The children each had their own alarm clocks and were responsible to get up and ready for school on their own: Kelly provided breakfast, and they did the rest. Bedtime routine was adjusted to ensure everyone was ready for the next morning: backpacks & shoes were by the door, clothes were picked out and ready to put on. Kelly too began to get up 10 minutes earlier than she used to to ensure that she was ready too, and 15 minutes before it is time to walk out the door, Kelly now sets a timer: when it goes off, everyone leaves–no matter his or her state of dress or readiness.
Since implementing Love and Logic in their home, the entire family has been transformed. Tom and Kelly are excited to continue parenting their children, and when they go out as a family, the expectations are set before they leave. If anyone doesn’t follow the expectations, one of the parents takes the offender to the car while the others enjoy their time together. This family is truly enjoying each other now, and it is a great success-in-progress!
To learn more about Love and Logic parenting, click here.
If you or someone you know is struggling with parenting, call Bridges of Hope at 218.825.7682.