Parenting

A different kind of vacation

Most families use a vacation to kick back and let the little things slides. Our Run-at-home mom is using a two-week Caribbean vacation to buckle down on bad behaviour

Grand Cayman: the setting for our two-week parenting boot camp

Our oldest son has always been a sweet and cheerful boy who is eager to please. Since starting Senior Kindergarten, his behaviour has taken a nose dive. Sweet is now snark. The smallest chore is turned into the most awful, horrible thing we could ever ask him to day (putting away laundry merits a screaming melt down). Fibbing. Tattle tale-ing. Nose picking. Stink eye. You name it, our gorgeous son is pulling out the big guns of bratty. And I am ashamed. My only job is to raise a confident and polite young man — and I’ve failed.

Or have I?

In talking to other moms, and especially moms of 5 and 6-year-old boys, this is normal. Pushing his limits, copying the rude behaviour of other children at school (and bringing it home!) and carrying an air of gloom around is just part of growing up. And because he is generally so good, when he would let a zinger loose, I’d let it slide. I must have let things slide one too many times, because both Mr. P and I at the end of the day were throwing our hands up in the air, having no idea how to turn this behaviour around. And the stress was rubbing off on our youngest as well, who at 21 months is barrelling into her Terrible Twos.

That’s why our family vacation (two glorious weeks in the Caymans) has come at the perfect time. We’ve decided
to buckle down on the bad behaviour — something I’m guessing most parents don’t do when they get away from it all. Away from work, school, cleaning, cooking and meals, we can focus on our children. Vacation life here is simple and slow — we have nothing to do but eat clean and healthy local food, play and relax. We’ve made it to day three with saying no to more treats and toys than we’ve said yes to and we’ve been unpopular for that. We use quieter voices to ask for help around the house and cuddles and eye contact when there are tears (instead of telling our children to stop crying, which really, never works). We’ve seen small improvements, not just in our children, but in ourselves as parents too.

What do you think? Are we doing the right thing by changing up our discipline and parenting while on holidays?
And if you’re the parent of a school age boy, what challenges are you facing?