Holidays bring in togetherness, joy and happiness. So why do you end up feeling so stressed, exhausted and overwhelmed. I just noticed this while sitting in the coffee shop at the Taj a while ago. Witnessing a young couple getting so hassled with their kid's behaviour. This made me ponder over and here I am penning down few tips.
The stress is caused by this innate desire that we have that our children should look good and behave well—and when this doesn’t happen, we can start to feel like we’re somehow failing as parents.
We all believe that holidays are supposed to be happy, peaceful, loving times. But we also know that the “supposed to’s”–in other words, all the expectations that go along with this—carry a lot of pressure with them. Anxiety follows and reacting to our anxiety leads to “reactivity.” That's when we lose it all and yell at our kids. It's then natural for us to feel overwhelmed.
Parents often ask me, “How can I manage to enjoy the holidays when I have so much to do and my kids are acting out in front of relatives?” I tell them to ask themselves an entirely different question, and that question is, “How might I contribute—not cause, but contribute—to my child’s acting out behavior?”
Do I buy into expectations and take too much responsibility, and not ask for enough help, inadvertently causing stress?
Do I tend to become over-controlling when stressed?
The most important question to ask yourself is, “What do I need to get control over my own behavior at these times?
What do I need to change in myself that will create more calm and peace inside of me?”
The truth is, if you can get yourself under control and take responsibility for your anxiety levels, that feeling will spread to your family members—and you'll probably experience less anger and defiance from your kids, as well.
So what can you do to achieve this calm? Here are some steps to follow this holiday season.
1. Stop trying to manage your child’s misbehaviour, they won’t be so busy resisting your efforts. Hold them accountable for their behaviour.
2. Try to keep to normal routines as much as possible.
3. Ask family members for help in planning and preparing.
4. Make your children feel like they’re an integral part of the events taking place. Giving them responsibilities help.
5. Learn to say “no.” Don’t let other people’s expectations push you to extremes or into doing too much or too little.
6. Have some encouraging one liners up your mind to say to yourself to help you get through the stress. You might say, “Just let it go,” or “This too will pass,” or “It’s not too difficult." Try to swap negative thoughts that may come up with one of these one liners.
7. Be clear about what you expect from family members. You should also be clear about what you are and aren’t responsible for.
8. Remember if we carry stress it spills onto our kids who already may have behavior problems and gives magnitude to the problem.
9. Do not keep thinking in your in mind, again, that your child is necessarily a reflection of you.
10. The bottom line is that there will be much more positive family togetherness on each holiday season if you pause and think about how you want to respond to your child.
Never start feeling that we are somehow failing as parents. Think about new ways, keep experimenting and think what you can do best in the particular situation.
Happy Parenting ! Enjoy the year end holidays and Have a sparkling New Year !