Beating Holiday Brattiness

Erma Bombeck once wrote, "The family that plays together, fights together." And I'm afraid she's right.

This is Dr. James Dobson with Focus on the Family.

Why is it that children are most obnoxious and irritating on vacations and other times when parents specifically try to please them?

On those special days, you'd think the kids would tell themselves, "Wow, Mom and Dad are doing something nice for us; taking us on this great vacation. I'm gonna give 'em a break and be a really good kid today." But children just don't think that way. In fact, many boys and girls misbehave even more at these times. Why is this?

One reason is because children often feel compelled to reexamine the boundaries whenever they think they may have moved. In other words, when the normal routine is gone, kids often push the limits and see what they can get away with. So, how can parents preserve their own peace of mind and maintain harmony during car trips and family holidays?

Well, sometimes it helps to re-define the boundaries at the beginning of your time together. Let the kids know exactly what you'll be doing and what's expected of them. And if they still push the limits, maintain your boundaries with good loving discipline right from the start. No parent wants to be an ogre on vacation, but a little firmness at the outset can make the rest of the time fun for the entire family. This is Dr. James Dobson for Focus on the Family.

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