The holidays are here, and with them comes advice from the experts about parenting. Here are some of my favourite recent posts:
Dr. Stephanie is a Colorado psychologist who writes about pop culture, parenting, and topics related to mental health. She recently provided some ideas for families to help cope with the change in season and the family stress that accompanies the holidays. My favourite suggestion: if the traditional holiday stories don’t resonate for you, find new meaning at this time of year by volunteering or donating blood.
Dr. Kevin Arnold is the Director of the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy of Greater Columbus. As American Thanksgiving approached, he provided some excellent reminders for parents young and old about emphasizing the positive aspects of the holiday season and reducing the stressful elements. My favourite suggestion: even though the holidays can be a mad dash, parents need to remember that their kids need some attention too – in fact, kids seem to need MORE attention when their parents are busy. Setting aside 15 to 30 minutes for uninterrupted parent-child time can remind us of the joy of the holidays, and may even prevent your child’s negative behaviour when the stress level rises.
Margarita Tartakovsky provides suggestions from psychologists, authors and life coaches for managing the potential pressure of the holiday season. Parents who look after their own stress levels will be better able to create a positive holiday for their kids. My favourite suggestion: “Have a plan for potentially tense situations”. Some gatherings of extended families are guaranteed to produce conflict, and if you think about it, certain interactions might be predictable. Tartakovsky suggests that managing your own reactions in these situations is the key to avoiding conflict; it can help if your plan your responses and keep your intentions for the holidays in mind.
Rhea Seymour provides some ideas for common problems that can arise over the holidays. Her suggestions aren’t always the ones that I would recommend, but one stands out, and it’s an important one. My favourite suggestion: If your toddler has a tantrum over the holidays, remember that it’s probably because she’s tired or overwhelmed – it’s not misbehaviour. Flexibility is required to help her to cope.
The Parent Network is a non-profit organization providing “a home base for men and women,mothers and fathers, grandparents, friends and anyone who wants information about how they can support excellent parenting around the world.” Their Holiday Snapshot article provides a growing list of holiday stories from Europe, South America, and the U.S. They’re seeking other traditions to add to what I hope will become a long list of traditions that we can discuss and share with our kids. Each story features a link to a map of the area. My favourite: The first story mentions the German tradition of St. Nikolaus Day (December 6), which we celebrate in our family!
The Coffee Klatch is another non-profit aimed at providing information and support to parents of children with special needs. This article isn’t so much a set of tips or tricks, but instead it’s a list of parenting books. We’ve talked about some of these resources previously on the blog and in the podcast, but there are some new ones here as well. My favourite suggestion: Connected Parenting by Jennifer Scolari – it’s about helping your child to become more resilient by creating a strong, empathic bond. I’m ordering a copy today!
Of course, we’ve also talked about stress during the holidays on the Family Anatomy Podcast. Feel free to send your suggestions for other resources for parenting over the holidays. Next week’s post will be our interview with Dr. Gordon Neufeld (co-author of Hold On To Your Kids) – what a great way to close out the year!
Note: Posts on Family Anatomy are for education only, and are not intended to replace professional or medical advice. If you need to talk to someone about family or mental health issues, you can get a referral from your family doctor. Doctor Brian discussed kids in general in this article, but every child is unique; your experience may vary.