November 22nd 2010
Holidays and Meltdowns….
My mentor Patty Wipfler of Hand in Hand Parenting says that Holidays and Meltdowns go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly. And in my own life, I’ve found that it’s true. Not just for my 7 year old, but for me too!
Why? Well, Patty says
“There are several reasons… First, when any holiday or birthday rolls toward a family, it puts extra demands and stress on the parents, and the children tend to become infected with stress too. They get less relaxed time with us, and have more expectations of “good behavior” put on them in stores, at homes they’re not familiar with, and among people they may not know well.
And second, children’s hopes soar in anticipation of a special occasion. They look forward to the extra attention, to extra fun, to special times. And when hopes are high, both children and adults can feel disappointments much more acutely.”
So what do we do? Well, just like being prepared for the dinners and the presents, we can be prepared for people and the feelings as well.
1. Know that as your tensions rise from trying to get everything together, your children will have more tension too. They sense our tension and it throws them. As they feel disconnected from us, their behavior will go off track. Remember this, and be ready!
2. When their tension begins to show, move toward them right away. Set limits around any off track behavior, and be loving with them as they release their big feelings.
3. Offload in advance! Try playing with your kids for a few minutes before you leave for that family gathering. Giving them extra attention, or a few good laughs, will help them feel more comfortable for the rest of the day.
4. Know what to say to people. Many people do not understand that crying and tantrums are often a way for a child to get BACK to his good thinking and cooperation. Be ready with a few things to say like “Wow, he’s doing a good job of getting this out,” “We’ll go into the back room so you don’t all have to hear about it,” “She’s been needing me to listen to her all day,” or “This will be over in a little while. Save some pie for us!”
5. Also, know that people around you might get triggered because they didn’t get loved like you’re loving your child. Their judgments are often rooted in their own unheard disappointments.
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