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Real-Life Christmas
Parenting Power Admin December 18, 2012 6 Comments

Real-Life Christmas


To the tune of On the Twelfth Day Of Christmas

• 12 children shrieking,
• 11 cards unwritten,
• 10 school performances,
• 9 tardy guests,
• 8 charities waiting,
• 7 surfaces un-dusted,
• 6 gifts not bought,
• 5 telephone rings,
• 4 ignored directions,
• 3 meltdowns,
• 2 exhausted parents
• and a diaper needing a change.

No one ever tells us that the holidays are going to be like the song above. It is so easy to hope that the 9 ladies dancing will help clean up before they go home and that your lovely young child will turn to all and spout, “God Bless Us Everyone!” instead of “Yuck – this stuffing is gross! It’s got raisins!”

At Parenting Power, Real Life Parenting means knowing that holiday celebrations will happen with some good, and some bad and that we’ll muddle through and look back at pictures years from now, erasing most of the bad stuff and laughing at the rest.

If you find yourself thinking, “I hope…doesn’t happen again this Christmas”, then there is a good chance it will – UNLESS you make a plan for it to be different this year. It could be:

• Your teen texting at the table
• Your preschooler complaining about Grandma’s “Yucky Brussels Sprouts”
• Your 6 year old slipping into a jealous funk because brother got a better gift
• Your 10 year old feeling blue because the festivities are over
• You yelling at your in-laws even though you swore you wouldn’t.

If it happened last year, it could happen again, but it doesn’t have to. Let’s be realistic and aware. Take a look at the scenario you are dreading and talk about it with your kids, (or yourself) make a plan to know what the feelings feel like, how they can be handled and what you will do to stop misbehaviours from arising (new script, removing self from the scene). This will set everyone up for success as the holiday festivities begin.

We have one wish for you to carry you through this time of potentially high pressure:

Breathe, Trust, Believe.

Breathe: When things go sideways, and we know that they will, it will be so easy to REACT in the moment. Victor Frankl, in Man’s Search for Meaning , said, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”

Taking a breath creates that space. One breath (in and out) can grant you the time, freedom and power to choose your response.

Trust: We know that, for the most part, our family is there on our side, working for “good” and not for “evil”. Let’s trust that the intentions behind our children’s behaviours are good even if the behaviour seems closer to evil. When we perceive that a child’s behaviour is not about “causing trouble” and more about “making the wrong choice out of excitement or ignorance”, it is easier to remain respectful in our response.

Believe: Believe that our kids can and will do better as they learn strategies to handle a situation. Kids are capable so let’s give them the opportunity to succeed in the many situations that will present themselves this holiday season and beyond.

Let us also believe in our own ability to make better choices as parents. Nothing we do is going to be perfect. When it doesn’t work out quite the way we had hoped it would, we can carry the belief that we can learn from our mistakes and make a better choice next time.

Breathe. Trust. Believe. We hope that this new motto brings peace for you and your family during the holidays.

Replies (6)

Katie Banham December 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Made me laugh out loud and made me think – great advice before this wonderful and sometimes challenging holiday period! Thank you 🙂

    Parenting Power Admin December 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Glad you were laughing, Katie. Have a Merry Christmas!

Deborah December 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Hello Julie and Gail,
Thanks so much for that post! It came just at the right time around here. Expectations run so high at this time of year and I think we can all loose perspective a bit. This is a great reminder of how to keep things in check.

I would love to read more about how to help kids with their expectations around Christmas. Especially pre-school kids and the present obsession!

Always love your posts 🙂

    Parenting Power Admin December 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Preschool kids are “concrete” so the present stuff comes with the territory. At this age, the easiest way to manage expectations is to talk about what the routine of Christmas morning will look like and that is up to your family.

    If you can do it, keep them well fed, and well slept and know that there will likely be moments of “over stimulation” so have a plan as to how the parents will respond and what they might do to “take a break”.

    Your family might decide to open a few presents and then do something else and then come back and open more. OR, you might decide to just wing it, have fun and deal with the fall out. Be realistic about the fact that the fallout may come and have your script ready.

    Hope that you have magical moments over this lovely holiday season.

Carie Lee December 19, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I really can embrace your inspired motto to breathe, trust, believe. You help me to regain perspective by encouraging me to take a step back and out of my emotional moments. Thank you & Merry Christmas!

    Parenting Power Admin December 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Thank you Carie Lee! Merry Christmas.

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