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How To Deal With Unwanted Parenting Advice During The Holidays
Most of us fantasize a beautiful, unforgettable and peaceful holiday season. A time to share with your loved ones, sing some songs surrounded by the children playing in harmony; like in the movies, right? But for most of us, there’s always at least one relative – grandparents, most of the times - wanting to discipline your children because they think you are doing it the “wrong way” and criticizes your parenting skills.
Not only you have to deal with the holiday’s budget and time management but also the nosy relatives that can bring you down. So, what should you do? While we may enjoy the festive holidays, the gifting, and the food, there are some difficult parts of the holidays with the children.
Do you relate to some of the ones below?
Unsolicited parenting advice: Nosy relatives giving you advice on how to deal with your kid’s behavior because they consider you are too young or “soft” to discipline your children in the “good way”. Sometimes they do it in front of everybody else.
Cranky children: Children becoming cranky, defiant or aggressive due to the lack of routine and over stimulation. Their meals are different and schedules too, that is stressful for most young kids.
Traveling with kids for long hours: In case you are a guest and have to travel a long way, children will get bored, tired and can give you a hard time
Busy schedule for you and your family dealing with the prep work: All the extra work that holidays require can be very stressful for parents and children too, especially if you procrastinate. Children usually perceive when parents are anxious.
The presents, decoration, and food: You may feel nervous about giving the right presents – especially for those difficult relatives in the family; doubtful about the decoration, if it’s too much or too little, or maybe not following the traditions. The food is usually a major concern too, especially if you are trying to host a big bash.
Spending time with the in-laws: Sometimes you don’t know what to talk about with them because you don’t have anything in common. Moreover, some in-laws are opinionated about the way you live your life and the decisions you make, especially regarding their grandchildren.
The comparison among your kids and your relatives’ kids: The way they behave, how smart they are, how tall, chubby or athletic they have become…
If you are the hostess, all the work will fall on you: You may feel overwhelmed if you are hosting the holidays, especially if you don’t get help from your spouse or other relatives. At the end of the night you will have to deal with cleaning all the mess in the kitchen, dining and living room and make sure your guests have everything they may need if they are staying at your place, so tomorrow when they wake up they will not judge you. Without help, it’s not easy.
The Holiday Stress-Free Action Plan:
Be kind to yourself and be flexible.
If you are traveling with your children, have your kids take naps and try to keep their routine to the best of your ability. In case you are driving for long distances, make a few stops so the kids can stretch a bit. A good idea is to stop in a park where they can play for about 20 minutes.
Share with your kids the structure they have to follow during the holidays in advanced and talk about boundaries – explain to kids what to expect and get them to understand when you say NO to something.
Have key polite sentences prepared to respond to relatives meddling in your parenting style. One that works is: “You should have seen him last week, this is nothing.” Here, you basically are agreeing with the relative’s concerns about the child’s behavior, while letting them know it is getting better.
Have always in mind the purpose of holidays – togetherness, sharing, strengthen bonds and affection, quality time and good memories.
Ignore criticism – people like to give free advice.
Ask your spouse for help when dealing with the organization, prep work and entertainment of guests. Anticipate potential issues – you two have to be on the same team.
For your peace of mind, do not procrastinate things that can be done ahead of time.Use humor to lighten up the mood.
Video – Parody of the Holidays
If things don’t work the way you want, don’t blame your children for that.
Try to keep calm and relax because children can notice when their parents are anxious and they can get anxious too.
Don’t try to fix family issues during the holidays, just try to keep it light and enjoy the celebration.
You may not like your child to be compared to others. Be aware that comparison is nonsense. Everyone is unique and different in their own way and we all come with different experiences and backgrounds.
At the end of the party take a moment for yourself. Fill the bathtub and lit some candles to create a relaxing atmosphere and promote a good night sleep.
The holidays are around the corner. Being prepared is the best policy—in all aspects, with gifts, food, decorations, and also on how to deal with unwanted parenting advice. Holidays are fun and meaningful, so enjoy every aspect of it and make it memorable for you and your loved ones.
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To Your Family Success!
Your Therapy Friend,
Sofia Robirosa is the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services and is a Relationships & Parenting Expert. She offers individual, couples, and family counseling to individuals seeking to enhance their relationships, in her private practice, located in Plantation, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and in Business Administration. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Leader in Active Parenting for children and teens, an evidenced based program. She is also a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She is a passionately committed therapist, who thoroughly takes pride and joy from her job. She enjoys working with a culturally diverse population and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and an active volunteer of the Broward Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves her family, which consists of her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Some of her interests outside of work include spending time outdoors, traveling, and dining. Read more about her at: www.infinitetherapeuticservices.com and follow her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/infinitetherapy/