Design Rest and Relaxation Zones

Individual private areas in your home can help everyone relax, regroup — and get along.

In many families, there are unwritten rules regarding private space. The den may "belong" to the parents — the children understand that this space is Mom and Dad's retreat. Similarly, the children often use their bedrooms as escapes from the demands of the family.

ADD families need to establish written rules regarding the boundaries of privacy. Each member of the family should have his own designated zone. In a small apartment, this space could be the balcony, the hall or half of a shared bedroom. Each family member has a right to privacy and needs a private retreat — a place that is off-limits to every one else. "Out to Lunch" or "Temporary Shutdown" signs can indicate current occupation of a personal zone.

This provision for down time is essential to forestall the negative behaviors of frustration. Each person has a right to state his need for space. When he makes the request, other family members shouldn't talk to him or expect a response. The same rules apply about being touched. If someone doesn't want to be touched, his wishes must be respected.

From "You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!" by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo

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