Imagine your boss was watching you 24/7 and evaluating whether you have been “good” at each second of the day. Based on this vigilant watching, your paycheck would arrive or not arrive. You weren’t sure. Was it ok if you chatted for 2 minutes on the phone with your partner about what was for dinner that night? Or grabbing a coffee on the way to a meeting? Does that count as “naughty?”
Those questions could pose some serious pressure.
Now imagine your brain isn’t fully developed enough to be able to reason the way our adult mind can. Imagine people were reminding you everywhere that “your boss is watching!”
The stress for some could feel unsurmountable. You might eventually breakdown: lying, tears, fits, self deprecation, illness, fatigue.
I paint this picture to give you some insight into what it can be like for many children around the holidays. It’s an amazing time of year but with it comes the stress of being perfect and being watched. Yikes!
It might be worthwhile to give your child some room to make mistakes and to empathize with the pressure they may be feeling. Here are a few things you can say when your child is making some poor choices this holiday season.
- While Santa may know when we are naughty or nice, he also knows when we do the right thing even after making a poor choice. And it matters to him. Let’s see if you can do the right thing starting now!
- I know it can feel hard to do everything right over the holidays with our Elf (name) watching all the time. But I want you to know, its ok to not be perfect. Let’s just do our best to treat others the way we want to be treated. How do you want (person’s name) to treat you right now? Ok, let’s work on treating them the same way.
- Did you know the elves sometimes get angry when their toy making doesn’t turn out the exact way they had hoped? Sure do! They have a few tools they use to calm themselves down. They have a special breathing tool they use and I learned it once when I was a kid. It’s called the Santa Belly Breath. First you breath in making your belly as round as Santa’s. Yes, that’s it! That big! Then they hold their breath for a second and slowly let it out…..
Be playful, kind, and loving with your interventions. The way we approach a situation could really make a difference.
Back to the boss analogy for a moment. Let’s say your boss came to you and screamed in your face that you better knock it off! There was no paycheck if you kept it up! You might feel ashamed, extremely worried, and stressed. Would you want the same for your child? Probably not. You probably want them to stop the behavior or have some remorse. But shame? Not exactly.
I ask you to remember to have empathy for the pressure those little people feel and treat your children the way you want to be treated.
Wishing you and your family the very best this holiday season!
I am kind, loving, and playful with myself and those around me.