By:Andrew D. Gibson, Ph.D.

Splitting Parents

Note: Each of Spike’s articles is an expansion on themes introduced, sometimes briefly, in “Got An Angry Kid?” The articles give an opportunity to explore those themes in more detail, as well as give suggestions for follow up.

Spike, a ten year old out of control kid, splits his parents because they let him. Splitting means Spike comes between them and blows on the embers of their resentment towards one another. In this case, he blows with a vengeance. Psychology Today

Spike’s parents are so tied up in their own marital unhappiness that they can’t hear themselves fight. They haven’t got a clue that Spike is caught in the middle of the squabble. If they did, they might do something about it. But one parent is so disappointed in the other and so convinced that the other is, among other things, a lousy parent that the idea of yielding ground to the opposite is impossible. So they fight.

Spike gets drawn into the fight and behaves badly, but predictably. So one of his parents yells at the other, “ Do something!” and the other parent yells back, “Like what?” and the other one says back, “ You’re the expert! You know everything. You figure it out.”

In fact, neither are experts or this wouldn’t have happened. All the yelling does is throw more fuel on the anger fire. Nothing changes except Spike gets nastier. Thus, he gets in all kinds of trouble; home, school, neighborhood. Somebody needs to pull back. Somebody needs to call a halt. Who will do it? Probably neither parent. And certainly not Spike.

Pride is in the way. Dad becomes more rigid. Mom compensates by becoming looser. This is going no where.

Their relationship stopped being a marriage a long time ago. And just to make things worse, Spike takes control of the household simply by becoming outrageous. His outrageousness is coupled with his parents inability to control him.

Couples counseling might be a good place to start. But this isn’t the time for one party to enter into a deal with the other. Sensitivities are too raw. There isn’t much trust between Mom and Dad. Science Daily

What these parents really need to do is to agree on an approach that they separately perform. They shouldn’t set themselves up where one parents says to the other, “See! I told you so. I knew I couldn’t depend on you.” Any deals that might be made ( “You do this for me and I’ll do that for you”) need to come later when they can actually depend on one another to be supportive. They will need to cut one another some slack. It is easy to blame the other parent for his or her limitations when there is a Spike in the house because blaming Spike will get them no where.

Need more help? Don’t know where to start? If you don’t have one already, get a copy of “Got An Angry Kid?” Read it carefully. Follow it diligently. It is very parent-friendly.

Join “Spike’s Club” Get access to lots of supportive information on the Spike in your life. Communicate with parents like you. Read exclusive articles. Participate in webinars. Listen to interviews.

If following the program in the book by yourself is too hard, enroll in the self-instruction version of PACT on-line. It will make the process easier. Your progress will be computed automatically for you. Directions are-step by-step.

If self-instruction is still too challenging, become a PACT client. You will like the weekly, personal encouragement that comes with a weekly video hookup. It always helps to have a coach. But which ever approach you pick, commit yourself to regaining control. You have little to lose and plenty to gain. It is never too late.

Meet Spike, an out of control kid. He is a lot like your child. Understanding Spike is key to changing your child. Follow Spikes numbers below:

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