How To Help Your Child Cope With Unmet Expectations At Christmas

The Honestly Adoption Podcast: Season 8, Episode 70

The holiday season can be full of magic and wonder, expectations and fantasies.  What can a parent do to help their child, who struggles during this season, to make sense of how their own story fits in?

Join us this week as we welcome Brooke Randolph (LMHC) to our show for part 3 of our 4 part series, “Holiday Survival Tips and Tricks.” Mike, Kristin, and Brooke will discuss how we can support our children through this holiday season.

Listen Now:

Notes and Quotes:

How can adoptive and foster families talk with their kids about their unique families during this season?

Be honest and be positive, just like every other day of the year!

How can we help our kids process their stories when they look so different than the movies or stories they’re seeing or hearing about from others?

Sometimes you may be able to connect to the crisis moment in the beginning of the movies. One attachment tool is to verbally put yourself in your child’s future (“one day when you have kids we can…”)

How can we create open and safe space for conversations with our children?
  • Gently suggest conversation without asking a question
    • “I wonder if…”
    • “Sometimes I think about…”
  • Answer questions that are asked with honesty
  • Let kids know you have feelings about it too
  • Empathize with their emotions
  • Use humor and teasing with teens when appropriate
What about the kids who are making this a “campaign” to disrupt
  • Assume it is not a “conscious” attempt to disrupt the holiday
  • They may have body memories of traumatic holiday times that they may not remember
  • Be consistent and loving during this time
How can we support a single-parent during this time of year?

Offer practical help and emotional support.

What hope is there for a parent who is feeling like they don’t know what to do?

This too shall pass.  Keep things as normal and consistent as possible.  Don’t overbook.  Stay calm and reduce stress.  Continue with bedtimes and good healthy food.  Minimize the child’s stress and that will minimize the parents!

Resources and Links:

Brooke Randolph is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), licensed through the state of Indiana, and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) specializing in adoption, relationships, and brain-spotting.  She is also an adoptive mom in a semi-open, international adoption of an older child.  She recently authored and edited an anthology about adoptee search and open adoption entitled, “It’s Not About You,”

Question: How about you? Leave us a comment below to let us know how your child(ren) may be struggling to make sense of this season. What have you found to be helpful? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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