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Where Is Your Happiness Meter?

by Nancy Thomas

Where is your “Happiness Meter” set? When your child brushes his teeth, do you go into ‘orbits of joy’? Or, does your child have to be perfect all day to even get you to ‘crack’ a smile? How hard are you to please?! Does your attitude need a ‘check-up from the neck-up’?

We need to set expectations for our children that are high, and yet reasonable. A child with RAD can learn to be respectful rather than rude. They can learn to be responsible and do their family chores with no reminder. They can learn to be caring and appreciative. The children need our help and encouragement to get there. The children with RAD need much more help!!

Our smiles of encouragement and ‘pats on the back’ go a long way in helping them reach for the good choices. Do they want us happy and smiling? NO! Does that mean we stop?! Who sets your ‘happy-stat’? Do you decide to be happy, and stick with it? Or, do you allow the challenging child to adjust it for you? As ‘loving leaders’, it is important that we stay in control of our feelings and the overall tone of our home. When we allow the child’s ‘stinkin’ thinkin’’ to fill our home, or our heart with anger–everyone loses. When we take care of ourselves, and keep our heart, and home, filled with love, and joy–everyone can win. A child who chooses to have a bad attitude is entitled to freedom of speech. And, everyone is entitled to the pursuit of happiness. This includes parents! So while we are pursuing our happiness, the child needs a safe place to express their belligerent feelings. Their room, or a room at a therapeutic respite provider’s should be a safe place for that. No punishment! No rejection! Just a great place to be!

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