Families often look forward to the holidays with mixed feelings of excitement and longing for positive connections but also with feelings of stress, or even dread. If past holiday experiences have included stress, discomfort, or even aggression it’s understandable to have concerns.
This holiday, invite yourself and your family to Change the Tradition of the Holidays to one of Joy, Understanding and Forgiveness. When we model positive functioning and joy to reduce stress during the holidays, our children will learn from us how to truly enjoy their holiday experiences also. What a truly wonderful gift from us! Focus on creating positive Family Communications and Relationship over the holidays:
Emotional: How we show love. How we follow others’ leads. How we communicate (with words and nonverbally). How we show appreciation and affirm others. *Challenges might be our own children acting out because of stress. Take a walk together, read a loving story, be generous with holiday hugs, listen to soothing Christmas music and tell some jokes to make each other laugh: http://bit.ly/2BGony8
Comprehension: How we focus our attention together and communicate and learn together. *Challenges we might face include being careful about not taking on too much. We may decide not to confront past or current grievances with family members, but to put them aside gracefully, and deal with them more positively post-holiday.
Regulation: How we set boundaries and agreements about how to treat one another (with respect, courteously, non-judgmentally). How we use self-control and trust that others will join us in creating a positive, loving family holiday. *Challenges can be problems or issues that arise. With mindfulness (deep breaths or some time in a space where you can gather your best self again), you can avoid becoming upset or distressed, and work on problem-solving for win-win outcomes. Help model resilience for your children and family.
Kimberly Svevo-Cianci, PhD, Executive Director, Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation (CCWF) & Founder
The CCWF provides “The Best Start for Families: An Intergenerational Approach to Empathy-based Parenting & Family Relationship” through a comprehensive psycho-social approach to strengthening parent/caregiver-child relationships by modeling, facilitating, and motivating empathy and communications across the spectrum of Adult-Child interaction: www.changingchildrensworlds.org