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How to Survive the Holidays for Parents of Children with Behaviour Challenges

The Holidays are Different for Parents of Children with Behaviour Challenges

For some, the Christmas holidays in particular can be a much needed relief from the constant bedtime and morning battles, the tears and fears of going to school, and the weekly or in some cases daily dreaded phone calls from the Teacher or the Principal. It’s a time to reconnect, reset, and just allow your child to take time to unwind at home, where they’re comfortable, they feel safe, and the pressure is off. For others, particularly those who have kids who don’t really struggle at school but have a lot more problems at home – they are probably already feeling the anxiety raise. How am I going to manage two whole weeks of tantrums, crying, whining, fighting, yelling, and constant battles? How am I going to get anything done this week? How can I keep the kids entertained long enough so I can have five minutes of peace during the day? This article speaks to the latter. But it isn’t for everyone…

This May or May Not Be The Article For You

The ideas I present here for how to get through the holidays with your child are focused on what is in your control – what you can do as a parent. How you can set your child, yourself, and your family up for success. I don’t dwell here on how challenging it will be (although, make no mistake – if you’re dreading the time off of school you can probably expect it to be challenging!). But what I’ve found, is that parents who dwell on the challenges get sucked into a dark hole of the victim mentality… and that’s a tough place to get out of. Parents who focus on what’s in their control – what THEY can DO to make the most of a challenging situation – those are the parents who grow and who shift their environment and who transition from difficulty to joy. Those are the parents I am writing this for. If that’s not you, you probably won’t get much out of this article. But if that IS you, or if that is who you want to become, read on… If you’re dreading the holidays and counting down until back to school starts, and you want to do everything in YOUR control to make the most of your extended time with your child, I’ve got you covered.

How to Get Through the Holidays With an Out of Control Child

1. Expect the best.
The thing is – it’s not so much about the situation as it is about your THOUGHTS about the situation. So if you have a child that struggles, instead of asking yourself how you’re going to get through it and how you’re going to avoid the constant battles, ask yourself who do I need to be in order to get through this. Really think about this…
  • Who do you need to be for your child?
  • How can you show up for them every day?
  • What can you do as the parent to ensure that you focus on the positives every day and manage the challenges effectively?
2. Plan for the worst.
Come up with a game plan. Really take some time to sit down and map out the worst day you can possibly imagine.
  • What could go wrong?
  • When does it begin?
  • What are the triggers?
  • What are the behaviours you’re likely to see?
  • What else might happen?
  • What activities do you have planned that you know are going to be challenging?
And then plan for them.
  • What do I need to do, as the parent, to set my child’s environment up for success?
  • How can I prevent some of the challenges?
  • What is the most effective way to manage the behaviours?
  • Who do I need supporting me in this?
3. Get support.
Having a child who struggles with behaviours presents a whole different level of challenges than parenting a typical child. Swallow your pride. Get rid of the shame and guilt. And ask for support. Have a plan in place to have regular time for yourself to unwind – without kids. Connect with your friends and family. Plan for some time out of the house to unwind and reset. You are NOT a bad parent for needing time for yourself and away from your kids. In fact, you will be a much better parent because of it.
4. Remember, this too shall pass.
This will not last forever… even though every moment may feel like a hundred years. It will pass. You will be able to move forward, and soon you will be back to the regular routine. What can you do each day to build one little memory, or to enjoy one tiny moment in time? Wake up and be grateful for your challenges (as difficult as it is) because when you think about the alternative – it really puts things into perspective. Everything you are doing now will bring you one step forward in the future. What are you doing today, to build a stronger tomorrow? If you’ve read to this point, I can assume you are a parent who takes control of the parts of your life that you can control, and doesn’t get sucked into simply being a victim of circumstance. Comment below about what was the most helpful for you, and what topics you would like to dive deeper into. I may just write an article about it in the future! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and may the next year around the sun be your best yet!