Recently, one mom said, “I dread the holidays…about 3 days before Thanksgiving I’m ready to crawl in bed and pull the covers up. Wake me after New Year’s!”
Holiday dread is common when you are raising an intense child because of the unique challenges their temperament brings to the table.
I decided to survey 10 parents of kids who are spirited, strong-willed, controlling and intense. Here’s what made the “dreaded top 10” list…straight from the mouths of moms:
- Lack of structure. My child asks, “what are we going to DO on Christmas day? I know we are going to open presents…but what are we going to DO?” There is no intuitive nature of hanging out, playing games, enjoying conversation and the gifts that we are going to open. Therein lies the exhaustion that I feel throughout the whole season. She needs someone to tell her what to DO all the time.
- Judgement from others. The dreaded sit-down-family dinner where everybody gets a front row seat to judge on how you discipline and parent your child, who can only sit for 5 minutes, eats one bite of mashed potatoes and then wants to make music…with the table settings.
- UN-helpful advice. What I hate the most is when we are dealing with an intense moment others will chime in and try to be helpful. They will ask our daughters questions, make assumptions in front of them…and by all their talking they have no idea they are actually making the situation worse.
- Too many sweets! Trying to find something the kids will eat from the buffet besides Christmas cookies while being distracted by Aunt Grace’s story of how stressful it was to move out of her home of 20 years to a smaller condo knowing you should be sympathetic, but you don’t want your kids bouncing off the walls later because of a sugar high.
- The “presents thing.” I dread the huge load of stuff for 5 kids that will take me hours to sort through and find ‘away’ places for it all. Plus it will be a fresh source of fights over it, and tantrums when it gets broken or lost!
- Advance prep REQUIRED not optional. The stress and preparation of absolutely positively having to be self organized physically, emotionally and mentally. This is a requirement if you dare to expect smoothness.
- Church. As hard as I try to NOT have expectations, I do. One of my favorite times at Christmas is the candlelit Christmas Eve service. We constantly have to give her the eye or take her out to talk to her – and other families just sit there, enjoying the “moment” and as we leave – I am filled with dread, not peace, not joy. It’s one of those moments for me, a stark reminder, that we are not like other families.
- Missing out. There is this lonely feeling that we often have that nobody truly gets what we deal with on a daily basis. Big groups are hard. I have to stay off Facebook because of my mourning, a grieving feeling, when I see other families doing what we cannot do
- Go – go – go! From Thanksgiving to the New Year it feels like a marathon of red light green light. It seems we spend way too much time on green light and red light usually only gets called out after meltdowns. Too many holiday-related activities take time away from parenting/playing with the kids and enjoying the season.
- Guilt and regret. I put my child through all the hustle and bustle k knowing full well they aren’t going to be able to handle it, but I’ve done it to them anyway. All in the spirit of “family traditions.”
If you are parenting an INTENSE or STRONG-WILLED child who is demanding and tries to control everything please know that you are not alone!
These are effective parenting tools to calm intense behavior and make parenting fun again!
Check out Mad2Glad’s Holiday Special: Experience Peaceful, Joyful Parenting in 2019.
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Here’s what parents of intense kids said after learning positive parenting tools from the Mad2Glad Blueprint:
“It’s so good to be in a good place…finally!”
~ Jenn M.
“Hey Samantha, this year I don’t really dread the holidays….thanks to your tools!”
~ Katie T.
“I get to see the result of all my hard work and my joy is brighter, my joy is deeper and I exhale from somewhere deep in my soul a grateful sigh that I get to be this child’s parent.”
~ Sheri Z.