3 Tips for Family Gatherings

I was telling my Facebook friends yesterday that I might come up with a bloggette. You know, when I just have something quick to say, but don't have time to really write, think, edit, be exceptional, driven, perfectionistic, find the WOW factor, be concerned that I found the right pic than won't get me sued for not crediting properly - you know, stuff like that! So here goes. (Don't get the red pen out, teacher friends!) HOLIDAYS!

You dream of them being like all the lyrics to the songs you're listening to.

Beautiful.

Full of hugs, laughter, love.

Peaceful, at least....

Or if you've been around the hard parenting journey for long, you'd just settle for no screaming, gnashing of teeth, or holes knocked in the walls!!!

But they're hard. So hard.

Here's a few tips:

  1. Do the Empowering principles on yourself. Before you head to that large family gathering, be sure you are rested, exercised, hydrated, had a snack that brings you delight (and a serotonin boost), and have pampered yourself in one of your favorite ways. Maybe a nice bubble bath with candles, calming essential oils and some red wine. I've seen a meme that said it's as good as exercise, so hey, let's not knock it. If it's on FB it has to be true, right? Whatever you do to feel at your best, do it. Did y'all get that? Do it. Really! I don't care if you have to train a TBRI babysitter or two to make it happen, do your self-care. So what if you don't make all your favorite homemade goodies six years in a row. Self-care is a MUST this time of year.
  2. Lower your expectations. Perhaps you're thinking your family gathering this Christmas will give you a break because the relatives will help out with Junior a bit and you can get some much needed R & R. Instead you arrive at Grandma's house with all the weird smells and Uncle Buck proceeds to tell your little critter just how many green beans he must eat before dessert. As the tears and meltdown begin, keep your cool and remember Uncle Buck hasn't been to four TBRI trainings. The relatives aren't going to "get it" so let it go. Meet your child's need, keep him close to protect him from the boundary popping relatives that haven't had their adult attachment interview and don't know they're being intrusive with an entangled attachment style. Just don't.... Breathe! Breathe deeper!! Breathe again!!!
  3. Prepare. Plan for a way out when your child is triggered, overstimulated, overtired, doesn't get the toy she wanted, can't handle the chaos, can't process the competing noise and conversations, etc. Don't just wish it won't happen again this year. It probably will, so have a plan. Is there a quiet place in the house we can build a blanket fort and chill for a bit? Can you take a drive to the park for a sensory break and some much needed deep pressure? Is there a nearby restaurant where you can escape for a few minutes for an ice cream? Yes, the relatives will criticize because y'all already had four desserts, but this is survival! Plan ahead and catch it low. If your child is struggling, step into your role as co-regulator of their brain.

Well, no time to come up with some cutesy ending or Christmas photo that would typically keep me from blogging. Gotta shower for Day 4 of this out-of-state intervention before I head home to do my own empowering principles.

Merry Christmas to all of you and I'm praying for lots of connection for you and yours this holiday season!

Deb

P.S. Don's sweat the small stuff. It's okay if you need to use the TV as a babysitter this time of year!!!

P.S.S. And there's always the cruise for self-care after the holidays. I CANNOT WAIT! We still have scholarship money and we'd love to have you join us. Call Janet, 817 232 9172 for details or email elizabeth@miriamsheart.org for scholarship info.

Parenting Adoptees Can Trust Parent Training and Respite Cruise