When Kids Have “Issues”

I give a lot of leeway to kids when it comes to a parent telling me that their kid has a problem and that it (I’m never sure if it is the kid or the problem) needs to get “FIXED!”

The leeway has to do with what is going on with the child, latency age grade school student, the pre-adolescent or the adolescent–KID, for shorthand.   I do not believe that kids want to fail at life and their relationships in life.

(The only kids I have met who were significantly failing in their primary relationships, were kids who had suffered through neglect, abandonment and/or abuse.  And those kids didn’t really want to fail, it’s just that they didn’t know how to connect in SAFETY and TRUST.  And by their rules, they had to be the “boss” to feel any sense of safety within their world.  That’s a different kind of kid.  An unattached kid who needs a high intensity of professional intervention.)

By far, kids want to be successful in their environments.  Home, school, sports, peers, etc.  When they aren’t successful, they are telling us something.  They are telling us that their world is not quite working for them.  For probably some very good reasons.

You can watch Sandra Bullocks’ “The Blind Side” and get a sense of what happens when a kid’s world isn’t working quite right.  It’s fairly easy to make the connection between a kid who lives in an insecure environment with poor parenting and a kid who may have “issues.”

But it’s much harder to understand about the kid who seems to have “everything,” and has “issues.”  Why do kids who seemingly have all the resources that money can give get represented in the category of “my world’s not working quite right for me?”

Perhaps we ought to go back to “The Blind Side.”   There were two biological children living in a wealthy home, who seemed to be doing quite well.  What child in their right mind would take on the RULES of that house?  Although the film centered on Sandra Bullock’s character MOM, it certainly showed a Dad who was involved with his family.  There was an expectation in that home for each person being RESPONSIBLE and RESPECTFUL.

(Oh my gosh, we’re back to those REFRIGERATOR RULES, again.)

My simple picture of a kid who is failing in his relationships has to do with that kid’s sense of loss.  Loss of some intangible element that has to do with a knowing of SAFETY and TRUST within his environment.  Whatever has caused that loss needs to be addressed while giving the kid (depending upon developmental level) a sense of hope and achievement.

Loss of SAFETY and TRUST in a non-traumatized kid’s life often has to do with the INCONSISTENCY  of the REFRIGERATOR RULES.

If your kid (ages about 4-and above) is having a “problem” that needs to be FIXED–please print out the REFRIGERATOR RULES and then have everyone in the family abide by them.  If you are new to this consistency parenting thing–be prepared for TESTING of your determination.  Stick to your program, stay focused on the REFRIGERATOR RULES and things will get better.

Email me.  Let me know how this is working for you.

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