Rebuilding and Maintaining Parent-Child Relationship Over the Holidays

Rebuilding and Maintaining Parent-Child Relationship Over the Holidays

Rebuilding and Maintaining Parent-Child Relationship Over the Holidays

by Damian McCintock, MS, PhD
(Candidate) Licensed Professional Counselor Intern
Hopemead Counseling & Trauma Center

The holidays are just around the corner, which means the kids are out of school and you are trying to figure out how to handle them for two to three weeks. Whether you have a great relationship with your kids, or you have been struggling with them lately, maintaining or rebuilding a healthy parent-child relationship over the holidays can be challenging. Here are a few things you can try that might make a difference for you and for your child.

1. The 30-Second Burst of Attention
At some point over the break, your child is going to try to get your attention at the most inopportune moments. You’re on the phone making plans, cooking, or trying to get things done around the house, and they have to show you this really cool rock they found in the backyard right now! As insignificant as it might seem, try to take a break for just 30 seconds, which is really a small amount of time when you think about it, and pay complete attention to your child. Say something like, “Okay Jimmy, for the next 30 seconds you can tell me whatever it is you need to tell me, then I have to finish what I am doing.” This shows your child that you care enough to take the time out of your busy day to pay complete attention to them, even when it was inconvenient – and it only took 30 seconds.

2. Special Time Together
With so much going on around the holidays, it can be difficult to really capitalize on the time that you have with your children. Imagine taking just 30 minutes out of each week of the break to just be with your child. If you have a young child, play with them for 30 minutes, once a week. Try not to control the play, but allow them to lead this play time. If you have older children, take a little more time to do something that they enjoy. Baking, shopping, exercising, whatever it takes to join in their world for a short time, just once a week. If you have multiple children, be sure to take time with each of them individually. Those short times together could be the highlight of your child’s vacation, even compared to the Christmas presents.

3. Letter of Recognition
Everyone likes receiving a letter in the mail, especially around the holidays. It makes us feel special, and children are no different. The purpose of this letter is to recognize all of the positive characteristics you see in your child. Maybe you see them as brave, smart, kind, talented, loving, or any other positive adjective you can think of. Use this as an opportunity to let them know about all of the positive qualities you see in them. Christmas cards are a great way to do this. Instead of just buying a card and signing it, write in it and tell them exactly how much they mean to you.

You always see the commercials or Facebook posts about how relieved or happy parents are when their kids finally go back to school. Maybe that doesn’t have to be you this year and you can end the holiday break with an even better parent-child relationship than when it started.

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