Our family attended a birthday party for a 5 year old boy yesterday at Dave & Buster’s.  For those not familiar with D&B, it’s a family oriented arcade/style fun house.  And I can honestly say, we had a fabulous time and walked away from the party without having experienced any outbursts or meltdowns from either kid.    And, I actually had one parent approach me and comment on how well behaved Riley was – they expected the 2 year old to be out of control.  And there was Riley, sitting calmly at the table eating her lunch while most of the other kids were running around.  Anyhow, a meltdown-free event isn’t necessarily a first for us, but in the past it had always been an expectation at an event such as this.

I actually hadn’t even thought about it until the very end of the party when I was in the ‘reward store’ and watched my good friends deal with both of their kids melting down.  The father commented on how he can’t stand going to places like that because they always end up in meltdowns.

As we were leaving the party, I started reflecting not only on how differently Kirk & I would have handled the meltdown(s) but how these past weeks of working the Parenting On Track program have actually set our family up so meltdowns are an exception to the rule.

Specifically, doing appreciations towards each other on a weekly basis have our kids working together instead of against each other.  Allowances have our kids understanding the value of money – what they can afford, what they can’t and how to save up for something (although, they usually don’t have the patience for saving just yet).

And then there’s how we handle meltdowns.  In the past Kirk & I would not have thought about maintaining/building a good relationship with our kids but would have resorted instantly to disciplining, yelling, time-outing.  And we KNOW these things don’t work in the long run and that they make everyone feel bad in the moment.   Now we just keep moving…focusing on staying away from, what I like to call, ‘the dark place’.   And although we have seen changes in our family dynamics over these weeks, it was very apparent yesterday…feeling really good about how relaxed our family is becoming.  Serious thank you’s to Vicki Hoefle!!!!  The vision we have for our family is now moving towards a reality.  Feeling real good right now!