Special Needs Parenting: Avoiding Holiday Stress

Angela Kelly by Angela Kelly Additional Needs

Angela Kelly

Angela Kelly

I am an occasional personal blogger and write under Wristbands and Roadsigns. I also write for Special Needs Jungle. I have a private practice Emot...

Shopping, wrapping presents, writing and sending cards. All these on top of the usual hectic and often stressful lives we lead. In addition to this is the emotional pressure of pleasing everyone.

Something many of us are familiar with but is often an impossible task.

Visiting relatives or having them visit you can heap on pressure and your stressometer can be ready to explode.

All this and all you are trying to do is keep everyone happy.

The presents and shopping, are often the least stressful part as this part can be managed over a period of weeks (thank goodness for the internet).

What I hear the most is the most challenging is managing trips to or visits from relatives that you often only see a handful of times a year. This can be especially stressful if you have a child with special needs or a disability.

So how can you manage the situation so that the whole family can enjoy the festive break?

  1. Stop trying too hard – Everyone’s happiness is not your responsibility – focus on the most important people and no more.
  2. Only do what you know you can manage and stick to your plan – If you know your child will only manage a couple of hours at a relative’s house then explain this in advance to your host – If they are worth it they will understand, if they are sniffy and judgemental then ask yourself why you are visiting in the first place!
  3. Just because they are family doesn’t mean you have to see them – There is little place in the world for oughts, shoulds and cant’s. Live life by your rules not ones that have been projected on to you by others!
  4. If you decide to have people visit you then plan it around you and your family’s needs – Don’t be afraid to tell people you need them to leave by a certain time if you have children that wake through the night or that find visitors hard to cope with – There’s even specially printed bunting available now asking people to leave by 9pm!
  5. Make sure you ASK FOR HELP from others – people aren’t mind readers and won’t necessarily know that you are struggling.

  6. Try not to be sarcastic if you are being left to do everything – see the previous point about others not being mind readers! If you assume then it builds resentment in yourself which has the potential to impact on everyone!
  7. Plan opportunities to have a break – whether that be a walk around the block, a nap, a relaxing or where possible a night out with friends – do it, don’t just talk about it!
  8. If you find yourself questioning this – ask yourself why – what are your barriers to implementing your own boundaries?

Try and follow these and the Christmas period has the potential to be far merrier for everyone.

Have a great festive period everyone and here’s to 2018!


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