What works for your family? If you have children at home that is your primary consideration. Not what works for your mom, mother-in-law, stepmother, and the list goes on and on of other people who come first. This is especially true if your family mix includes ADHD, learning disabilities or similar considerations.
The scenario repeats itself every year. Children get too many presents, are overly tired and have tantrums. They forget to say “Thank You” to grandparents or aunts and uncles. They won’t eat the food.
Adults, perhaps fueled by alcohol or too many carbs, make hurtful remarks to each other in front of the children – or worse still, directly to sensitive children. Someone, probably you, tries to clean up the mess – smoothing the ruffled feathers, cleaning up spills and dirty dishes, while feeling resentful. You and your spouse collapse at the end of the evening, and wonder why you do this every year.
If the above description fits your holiday experience, there is nothing fun about it. You feel stuck in this awful movie that keeps repeating itself. People will be angry with you if you propose something different, you tell yourself. The truth is, other people feel the same way. Visiting two sets of relatives and eating two holiday dinners on the same day is crazy!
Celebrate on a different day and switch off from one year to the next. This year you had Thanksgiving with your mom; next year it will be with your mother-in-law. There are three other days on that weekend to visit. Draw names at Thanksgiving for gifts. Instead of gifts, pick a date to have a picnic at a park or go to the zoo as a group.
Set an arrival time for the holiday gathering that allows your family to get some rest. The relatives can start eating without you. Arrange to leave the holiday party before it gets too chaotic.
Have something quiet to distract your children. Board games might occupy a group of kids, even the grown-up ones! If it is too late to change this season for the better, cheer yourself up by thinking about what can be different next year.
Blogger Mary Ann Mulcahey, PhD, shares her expertise in assessment and diagnosis of learning disabilities and ADHD, and the social/emotional adjustment to those issues. If you have questions, please contact Mary Ann at .
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