This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How to discipline your difficult child - FAIR Club letter

FAIR Club letter sample:

Dear ____________,

Welcome to the FAIR Club! The FAIR Club is designed to give you boundaries and additional support while you practice and gain (or regain) the ability to be Respectful, Responsible, Honest, and Fun To Be Around (RRHAFTBA).

First, we, your parents, want to apologize to you for not making you feel safe enough to be part of this loving, healthy family. We are making a commitment to you to help you become RRHAFTBA.

Assigned Seat - As you know this means you will have an assigned seat in the van (_behind the driver in the middle row_), an assigned seat in any other vehicle (behind the driver seat ), an assigned seat at the dining room table (1 spaces to the left of the head of the table_), and an assigned seat in the family room (_blue couch next to the navy recliner_). This helps decrease the number of decisions that you have to make so you can focus on the important ones.

Bed Time - You will also be in your room by 8:00pm and in bed with your eyes closed and the lights out by 8:15pm. This is to help you get the rest you need (learning to be RRHAFTBA is hard work!). Getting out of bed to get a snack, get a drink of water, or go to the bathroom shows me you still need more time to learn to be RRAFTBA. Do these things BEFORE room time!

Electronics - No TV (unless the show is approved by a parent – at the time). No music (you may listen to your MP3 (which is stocked only with Christian music), IF you have shown you can handle it), and no video game time while in the FAIR club so you can concentrate/focus on learning to be RRHAFTBA! Phone time will be limited and may be removed completely.

Family Time - You will need to hang around the family a LOT so we can show you by example how to be RRHAFTBA. You will probably be expected to do extra chores and help cook so you can practice being RRHAFTBA. You will need to make lots of eye contact and use a pleasant tone of voice when speaking with others.

If you need any help – ASK! That’s what we are here for.

If you no longer wish to be part of the FAIR Club, you must SHOW us that you are ready to rejoin us a full member of this loving, healthy family by:

1. Being RRHAFTBA! And following the FAIR club and family rules without complaint, whining or argument.
2. Complete your writing assignment (listed at the bottom of this page). Use neat handwriting, complete sentences and good spelling and grammar. You can ask a parent for help or use a dictionary.
3. Sincerely apologize to all parties involved (including both parents).
4. Sincerely offer restitution (how can you make it right?) to all parties involved.

(This child was disrespectful to Mom so had to do one of her chores. We were just introducing the concept of restitution to her).
Extra Chore: You will clean the refrigerator inside and out (don’t forget under the drawers).

Writing Assignment: _ Read the article about restitution. Leaving room to add to each answer, write 6 things you have done recently that you should make restitution for. For each of these things write who you need to make restitution to. Ask that person in what way you can provide restitution (You can offer suggestions from the list in the article). Write down what you have decided to do – do it!

Love,
Mom and Dad

Tips & Warnings:

Reminder: when assigning writing assignments remember your goal is to help the child make better choices and learn from his/her mistakes. Try to keep consequences logical when natural consequences are not possible. Make sure that consequences are reasonable and age appropriate. Repeating consequences helps them learn.

The great thing about the FAIR Club is you are in it until you SHOW you are ready to get out. This means the child is not "grounded" for a week, and can act horrible the whole time. Because the child needs family time, this also means the family is not grounded either! You can still do some family activities with the child.

It also means you do not have to FORCE the child to do the writing assignment or extra chores- they'll do it when they are tired of being in the FAIR Club!

See my next post on writing assignments for some ideas of consequences.

STAY CALM! If you are emotionally upset that is NOT the time to be deciding on extra chores or writing assignments. Children have to be in the FAIR Club AT LEAST overnight. Give yourself a time out until you are ready to deal with this calmly, lovingly and logically. They can wait until tomorrow to find out what their consequences will be. Gives them a chance to worry!
I recommend the Love and Logic books by Fay and Cline to help you with this.

Every child reacts differently to the FAIR Club. I have some that dissolve into tears and beg to get out (stick by your decision or they will manipulate you more!) and others who are more stoic. Do treat them empathetically - consequences are hard to deal with - even when it was their choices that got them.

4 comments:

Dia por Dia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dia por Dia said...

Howdy neighbor!
I love that letter! I just grounded my son for the first time--for a week--then we reevaluated. He is still grounded. I might just move his membership into the FAIR club. It is working pretty well but he needs more time to remember what an awesome family he has. Thank you for visiting my blog. We are neighbors! In Texas! I live just a little south of you in SW-A.

Had to delete the first comment because I wrote in some kind of gibberish and sent it before realizing it!

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