HOLIDAY STRESS-Yes, Girls, Tweens and Teens Feel It Too!
Posted Dec 04 2011 10:37pm
The Holiday Season is beautiful and we all hold on to some precious memories that go with the season. But the Holiday Season is also stressful. As adults, we often live an exhausted life of lists and obligations that go with the season. For some women, particularly moms with children living at home, an exhausting month is finally finished off by little sleep and the patter of little feet very early on Christmas morning. Even for those of us that celebrate simply or observe other traditions, such as Chanakah, the frenzy builds. Nobody wants to forget someone they should have remembered with a card, a present or a phone call. And most of us have certain favorite foods that go with the season. That means extra calories, an outfit that suddenly doesn’t fit right, or the tug of war with the latest batch of Christmas cookies sitting in the kitchen. And we know who usually wins! (The Cookies)
What some of us forget is that the kids have stress also. Particularly in harder times, like now, kids worry about how the season will go down for them and often for their families. Kids hear, know and feel a lot more than we give them credit for. If your family is having money problems, whether you tell them or not, they are most likely aware of the problems. If you and your husband are in disagreement over how to do the holidays, even if you argue behind closed doors, your daughter will be aware of the tension. Some here are a couple of suggestions to lower the stress for your kids
1. Have a honest, but not overly dramatic or discouraging talk about this year’s decisions around present giving. If everyone will be receiving, say half of what they got two years ago, be honest about it. Discuss this openly and maybe agree on what gifts are the most important for an older child or a teen. If say your daughter really wants an item that is twice what you can afford, see if there is a way to figure out the purchase. Perhaps it can be for both Christmas and her birthday, plus she can take on a chore in the family for a few months that may help you out or even cut some expenses for you.
2. Also, have an honest chat about what you will do and not do for the Holidays. If you are not buying a big tree this year, let them know early so they won’t be disappointed. Perhaps it is the year for a family evening of making home made decorations and stringing popcorn trim? That can be a lot of fun. Also, kids are very creative and if they know that a food budget for a big Christmas gathering must be slimmed down, they will come up with ideas to help do that. For example, they may be willing to bake or help you cook more from scratch, as that usually costs less than packaged foods.
In summary, the important thing kids need is to feel in the loop of making decisions about the Holidays and presents and that they have something of value to offer the family either in terms of ideas or actions. If you can help them feel valuable and in the loop and make clear that you want a great Holiday also, you will find yourself under less stress and for sure you daughter will feel even better about herself than she expected! Happy Holidays!