Tag Archives: holidays

‘Tis the Season for Compassion

Holiday HugExpectations are always high at this time of year. It’s the season for joy, friendly people wishing each other cheer, generosity of spirit, and family gatherings. But just as often, it’s not for so many.

The stress and tension of buying gifts, satisfying expectant children, and anticipating family gatherings fraught with anxiety and judgement are also heightened at this time of year. Loneliness, grief, and loss feel heavier now than at any other time. Suicide statistics peak. And on top of all the usual stress, we are in our second holiday season marred by a world-wide pandemic with a new and possibly scarier variant at our doorstep. The unhappy and the sick feel more isolated, rejected, and angry at this time of year.

Now that I have fully depressed all of you, I do not mean to be a downer. What I want is to prod your compassion and empathy to understand that this season is just as hard for many as it can be joyful for others.

Can you allow a family member’s, even your child’s, sadness, depression, anger, Read more…

Managing Family Disapproval at Holiday Time

Q. I have worked hard to raise my boys, 5 and 8, very differently from how I was raised. I have followed your principles of Connective Parenting and want to stick with them. One of my boys is very strong-willed and, as you say, “won’t take no for an answer”. The other is a gem, so easy to get along with. With holiday gatherings coming up with old-school parents and in-laws, do you have advice on how to handle unwanted, critical remarks that leave my 5 yr. old feeling angry and reactive whenever they are around—not to mention what a failure I feel like.

A. When you choose to parent differently from the methods of your parents, you are always at risk for being criticized. Your parents and in-laws likely feel threatened by how you are raising your boys and assume you disapprove of how you were raised (this may be very true). If you are not asking their advice and following their traditions, you are clearly going your own way, and they may feel discarded and even wronged. The Read more…

Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house you go!


Generations together HolidayHolidays mean relatives; Relatives can mean conflict. Now is the time to create supportive relationships.

When you anticipate getting together with your parents or in-laws at holiday time, do you get tense and stressed just thinking about it? Are you afraid your child will misbehave, they will not understand, and you will buckle under pressure from your elders to parent in ways you have been working hard to avoid?

So many parents are looking for new ways to parent—ones that feel right and are more respectful of their children—that might be quite different from the way they were parented. But something happens when the generations get together and we revert to old patterns. Holidays can be fraught with anxiety when a look or a comment from a parent or in-law triggers self-doubt. You cave under their authority and treat your child how you assume your parent or in-law thinks you should.

When parents are not yet confident or fluent in their new parenting approach, they feel vulnerable in the face of one who was the authority figure for so Read more…