Make a Family Resolution: 3 Steps to Find Your Zen Zappers

“Identifying Traps and Triggers”

06-family-s7851-520.jpgI am often asked to speak to parents about “How to Communicate With Your Teens,” and to teens about “How to Get Your Way With Your Parents.” Essentially the same topic, but appealing to different needs. Parents, obviously, want to connect with their teens, understand them and build a life-lasting relationship. Teens, on the other hand want to find the quickest, most painless way to the freedom of adulthood. I think both can be done.

In these talks, one of my sections is about finding negative patterns and squelching them. I decided that this would make a great series of New Years posts. The first part to finding harmony and then bringing it into your household, is realizing what isn’t so ‘zen’ about your familial interactions.

Here is what used to happen in my family:

Setting: It’s a peaceful Sunday morning, Vanessa is watching TV with the sibs and just made herself some pancakes.

(Enter Mom) The kitchen is a mess, we are all still in our pajamas and it is eleven o’clock. She wanted us to clean our rooms today and strip the beds to do the sheets, my brother and I haven’t touched our homework yet.

Mom: Ok guys, time to clean up, Courtney, Haley bring your plates to the sink, go up and get dressed, brush your teeth and bring me your sheets, Vanessa clean up the counter.

Us: Mom, this episode is almost over…ten minutes.

Mom: Well, can you clean up the kitchen while it is still on? Ten minutes…that’s it, then we are cleaning rooms and doing homework

15 minutes pass, no dishes have been done and we have started a new episode of our ‘favorite show’

Mom: [Yelling] That’s it, I gave you till the end of the last show, nothing has been cleaned up, I might as well do it myself, you all need to go upstairs now!

Us: Oh man, this sucks, it’s a Sunday! We will do it eventually, this isn’t fair, grumble, grumble…

Ok, so Sunday was ruined for both my Mom and ‘Us’…and my dad too, because he got to hear everyone complain about things. This happened almost every weekend, it was what I call a ‘pit’ or ‘trigger zone’ because this fight only continued and got worse as the day went on. Talk about a bad way to start the week, we feel like our weekend is stifled, my mom felt unappreciated and overworked and my dad didn’t get his family time.

Part I of finding your family’s harmony is figuring out your family’s trigger zones and pits.

Part I Resolution Assignment:

1) Write down all of the times during the week when:
-You feel most taxed and worn out
-You have the most fights with your family/kids/spouse
-What ‘triggers’ your feelings of anger/exasperation/weariness/annoyance most often in the household or with the family.
-Would like alone time or space.

2) Ask your Spouse to write down all of the times during the week when:
-They feel most taxed and worn out
-The have the most fights with the family/kids/you
-What ‘triggers’ their feelings of anger/exasperation/weariness/annoyance most often in the household or with the family.
-Would like alone time or space.
-They feel most stressed and tired
-The have the most fights with the family/parents/other siblings
-What ‘triggers’ their feelings of anger/exasperation/weariness/annoyance most often in the household or with the family.
-Would like alone time or space.

This is the first, and very big step towards finding harmony—so don’t skimp! Everyone has these bad times, and most people can list them off right away, yet no one seems to think them all through. Therefore, now, during New Years is the perfect time for you to sit down and think them through and decide to make a change.

Coming Up…

[Part II] The Family New Years Plan: How To Avoid Trigger Zones and Make Your Plan

[Part III] The Family New Years Plan: Harmony-In-Action

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