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Christian Counseling - Summer Structure

Now that children are finally out of school (thank you 2ft. of snow for the shortened summer), many parents are trying to figure out what to do with their children. As I talk to parents, some express fear of the unstructured time that summer brings. They say that their children start to act like "train wrecks". One possible reason for this is that we take children from a school environment where they know what is expected of them, and they come to a home environment where the expectations are as hazy as a August afternoon.

If our children don't get in trouble at school, but regularly get in trouble at home, we have to ask why. There are many possible explanations. One is that they know what they can do to stay out of trouble at school. In addition, school is structured. I heard someone on the radio who is a GM for a sports franchise, and he had an interesting theory as to why professional athletes tend to get in trouble with the law during the off season more than during the season. He said that during the season, the athlete's day is extremely structured as they prepare to play. In the off season, they have a lot of time on their hands without much in the way of structure. Sound familiar?

I am not suggesting that we structure our child's life from morning to night. However, we need to have a plan of what each day will bring. Find some things that they can help with to feel productive. We need to communicate our expectations to them, and praise them when the expectations are met.

Some parents struggle with placing structure on their children during the summer. I certainly understand this struggle. We know that the children have worked hard during the school year and need a break. However, to go from a great deal of structure to none at all can be overwhelming for a child. Some structure may be the child's best friend. I would be interested in hearing your stories of how you provide structure for your children during the summer. Post a reply or email me, and I will include your ideas with mine in subsequent posts.

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