Step 7 is all about creating agreements, sharing responsibilities and checking in to make adjustments and celebrate as needed. Hopefully, you’ve found that cooperation and communication are getting easier as you apply what you’ve learned about Roadtrip Personalities and have spent together dreaming and planning. This process of creating agreements that will help everyone support each other in achieving a shared goal is the next huge step in preparing for your road trip.
So, you’ve heard us talk about the difference between rules and agreements. In our approach, agreements are more productive than rules and help foster the type of connection and responsibility that makes a difference on the road. Remember, rules tend to be top down and often result in power struggles and frustration whereas agreements are created by and for the group. When rules are broken, there is typically some kind of punishment to remind everyone not to break rules. When agreements are broken there is an opportunity for discussion, problem solving and growth. This creates actual responsibility rather than simply compliance masquerading as responsibility.
This can all sometimes feel counterintuitive. We know. We know that there is a lot of noise out there about punishment and reward, motivation and supposed accountability. And most of it, relies on power and control rather than cooperation and actual responsibility. So it can take some time and practice to shift the way you think about that dynamic in your family. It may take a little longer at the outset but the benefits are much longer lasting and can really shift the dynamic at home and on the road.
To support you in making that shift, we’ve rounded up some helpful resources that you’d invite to explore if this alternative approach interests you. As always, take what you can use and leave the rest. There is no shortage of information out there. These are simply the ones we’ve found most useful and practical.
The entire How to Talk Series is incredibly valuable and in recent years they’ve added more age specific guides.
Here are a few questions to consider as you explore this approach:
- What could change if my family adopted this method of creating agreements instead of enforcing rules?
- What do I hope will change?
- What are the biggest challenges I might face as I try to do things differently?
- How can I explain the reasons for this change and possible benefits for our family?
- What is my goal for my kids? For our family?