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Preparing Extended Family for a Visit from a Child with Behavioral Issues

Holiday Travel with Behavioral Issues

Traveling often presents difficulties when you have a child with oppositional defiant disorder or other behavioral issues. During the holidays, travel typically involves a visit to family members. You may even need to stay at the homes of extended family. If you prepare your hosts and your child for what to expect in advance, you can decrease the chances that behavioral issues will turn into big problems during the visit.

Explain Common Behavioral Issues to Your Hosts

Before you embark on any holiday family travel, tell the people you plan to stay with that your child has behavioral issues. You don't have to go into details that you don't feel comfortable sharing, but you should prepare your hosts for common behaviors that may seem out of line or concerning. It may also help to explain the things that trigger your child to misbehave.

A short conversation with extended family members will prepare them so they can respond with empathy instead of shock or anger when your child acts out at an inappropriate time.

Establish a Place for Time Out

It's difficult to predict child holiday behavior, but the excitement and new environment can cause some children to have meltdowns. Prepare for such an event by talking to your extended family and designating a quiet place for time out.

Ideally, you can find a place that's easy to monitor but not in view of everyone. A spare bedroom may work well as long as it doesn't have any distractions. By finding a private area for time out, you can spare your child some embarrassment while he or she takes five to 10 minutes to calm down.

Let Your Hosts Know About Dietary Restrictions

If you use a restricted diet to curb some of your child's behavioral issues, you need to tell your extended family what isn't allowed. Don't suggest that your family is responsible for following the rules. Just let them know that you're trying to help your child by keeping certain foods away from him or her.

Some foods to avoid include:

  • Candy, soda, and other foods that contain excessive sugar
  • Treats and snacks that contain artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Fish and other types of seafood that could contain trace amounts of mercury
  • Foods and drinks that contain caffeine
  • Anything else you know has a negative effect on your child's behavior

Remember that extended family members may not fully understand your child's issues, so it's important for you to remain open and empathetic to their concerns. By preparing your child and extended family, behavioral issues and family holidays can coexist with few problems.

Help for Behavioral Disorders

If you're concerned that your child's behavioral issues require intervention due to the impact on family life and disruption to everyday activities, consider The Brain Balance Program®. At Brain Balance, we approach behavioral issues as a symptom of functional disconnection syndrome, an imbalance in hemispheric brain communication that is at the root of most learning, behavioral, and developmental issues. Based on the science of neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to improve and change throughout a person’s lifetime, our drug-free, integrated approach brings parents and kids together to achieve the common goal of significantly improving behavioral symptoms and restoring the family dynamic.

If your child struggles with difficult behavioral issues or has been diagnosed with a behavioral disorder, contact us online or find a center near you to learn more about how the Brain Balance Program can help.


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