Growing Great Families – Holidays – Is Your Family Ready?
It is pretty clear that holiday madness has begun. Advertisements for pre- black Friday sales, seasonal commercials on TV and Christmas decorations and displays blossoming make it abundantly clear that there is no escape from the holiday hype. However, along with holiday excitement it can also be a stressful time for families. The media reinforces idealized images of what the holidays are supposed to be. We see well dressed, happy families with obedient children bearing abundant gifts enjoying each other’s company and eating sumptuous meals in perfect harmony. These images create expectations that are often hard to meet.
We know parents do have concerns based on past history and current challenges and, instead of pushing them aside, dealing with these issues before hand can go a long way in reducing stress and problems. In order to make sure that we hone in on what parents are concerned about we asked parents to share their fears in the form of questions. We picked those that appeared with the greatest frequency and we will try to answer them. For starters several parents described this type of situation. “We are invited to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. There will be a number of family and friends and her dinners are quite elaborate and last several hours. My 11 year old son has ADHD and I am worried that he will not be able to sit through the dinner and do something impulsive that will embarrass me. What can I do?” For this and other situations that our parents have described we emphasize the importance of planning ahead. Based on prior experience parents can anticipate what difficulties lay ahead and with discussion and collaboration come up with strategies to cope these challenges.
We conclude with a role play illustrating the wrong way and the right way to handle a typical conflict with a family member during a holiday get together.