KIDS GET ONE FOR SUMMER, FALL, WINTER and SPRING. DO PARENTS GET ONE, TOO?

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School is their job.

Like most jobs, school can be hard and, while some kids take their jobs more seriously than others, having a break from the grind is an American right, right?  As such, under-eighteeners, can’t be expected to sustain a full day of well, anything, without expecting a break. Or at least a snack.

There are lots of kids who are nightly burdened with homework. That’s a good enough reason for parents to take the load off by doing science projects or writing   college entry essays.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus: it’s called a parent.

Spring Break is probably the most inexplicable of all.  Too few are staycations.  Too many are travel destinations.  Child-centered fun in doesn’t come cheap (remember that part about working to pay for it all?).

Pity the child left behind to hang out alone at home. With nobody to talk to except the dog or, gasp, siblings.

Here’s what I know:

  1. Treats aren’t treats if nothing is a treat. A family vacation is special once a year, not multiple times a year.
  2. Over-indulged kids grow up to be lousy partners and employees.  The model is that their wants come first. 
  3. Parental guilt keeps the whole thing going. When enough isn’t enough parents try harder and harder to please children who are numbed by the volume of it all. 
  4. Generations re-create child-centric families whose toxic patterns create parental drift. 

When parents take some time for themselves — without their children — their professional, personal, family, and parenting lives benefit.  Intimate dissatisfaction and drift are reduced.  Putting children before a parental relationship is a mistake few parents see.  The truth is that parents take care of their kids best by taking care of their relationship.

Breakfast in bed, anyone?

Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice. She sees daily the results of over- entitled children, under-entitled partners and the messy families they create. Kathe lives in Colorado with her husband and their two entitled cats.

Copyright, 2019, Being Heard, LLC

WE BREAK FOR SPRING.

Funny underwater family legs in swimming pool, under water view   Spring Break is a rite for millions of North American students, families, and friends who’ll be clogging airports, highways, and resort destinations beginning in March.

Whether it’s mouse ears, sleeping in, or waking up on a beach with cotton-mouth, there’s some Spring Break wisdom that’s best heeded all year round:

Use your cell phone sparingly.  A vacationer’s cell phone ought to be restricted to taking pictures or finding a lost member of the party.  More than that and the reason to spend time with other people is defeated — to say nothing of it being annoying, especially to family and friends.  Don’t ever ever ever forget that the internet is unforgiving and permanent, giving new meaning to an OMG picture of you drunk and naked on the beach in Lauderdale.

Not everyone wants what you want when you want it.  Nix the idea of an art museum trip or or touring a snake farm?  Arguing over what sights to see, what to do, or where to eat leaves at least one person bummed.  Give everyone a voice in how their time is spent; after all, it’s their Spring Break, too.  Dramatically increase an outing’s pleasure by splitting up then coming together later to share your adventure.  It really works that making someone else happy makes you happy yourself.

Do something unexpected.  Most of us plan free time in ways that don’t free us up at all.  Chances are the guy or gal who’s the organizer in the bunch has already annoyed everyone else by planning their time.  Letting go risks dropping the façade we think makes us likable and valuable.  Rolling with reality, being flexible, is the perfect opportunity to have a good time, even when it’s not on the itinerary, for instance, when a day at the pool is rained out. Murphy’s Law can defeat the organizer.  Lesson:  Pack The Cards.

Tempting the gods of travel seldom works, which is why they’re gods and you’re not.

Get over yourself.  One afternoon in the desert my husband and I ran out of gas within sight of our destination.  After I reminded him that I’d told him to fill up a hundred miles back I shut my mouth, even though time was ticking toward closing time at the UFO Museum.  If we’d both fumed waiting for AAA a chunk of our allotted days together would’ve been ruined.  Weigh all vacation snafu’s with that in mind.

Leave it Behind.  Let Go.  Relax!  Most of us have excitedly anticipated time away from the ordinary.  Some of us, like me, find it relaxing to shop all day.  My husband seems pleased to hang out with his laptop doing what I suspect is work-related.  His relaxed isn’t the same as mine.  Unless you travel with someone only for a special rate, be as attentive to refreshing relationship as you are at refreshing yourself.  Both are important to the health of the other.

Vacations are artificial.  Does anyone go to Riviera Maya expecting to spend time dancing to the tunes of Montezuma and His Revenge?  While no one intends to break an ankle, be robbed, or have a travel delay anything that can derail and demolish plans can — and probably will — happen.  Going on vacation doesn’t mean abandoning common sense like not handwashing or surfing when you can’t swim.

Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice in Colorado Springs where she does individual work and specializes in couples work.  She and her husband of 30 years never vacation during Spring Break.  Read more of Kathe’s take on therapy at www.coupleswhotalk.com and sign up for her FREE weekly newspaper.

Copyright, 2016  Being Heard, LLC