Posts Tagged ‘criticism’
Holidays with Your Intense Child
Tina Feigal, M.S., Ed.
Copyright © 2016
Holidays with your intense child can cause a great deal of discomfort. You’re concerned about keeping things socially acceptable, you would rather not see “that look” on your sister-in-law’s face, and staying home in front of the TV never felt so appealing. But on you go, feeling the pull of family responsibility, not wanting to disappoint people – still knowing you will, because it’s almost impossible to take your child anywhere without a scene.
This holiday season, it’s time to get a handle on visiting others and helping your child maintain some semblance of civility.
Here are five tips for surviving, and even enjoying, the holidays with your intense child. Yes, it’s possible, and no, you don’t need therapy or medication to get there.
- Talk in advance with your child about how it will be at the relatives’ house this holiday. Recall what it felt like last year and take note of how she talks about it.
- Consider that sensory issues are at the core of the misbehavior you see in your child. Too many smells mingling, sparkly things and bright snow, tags in new clothes, sounds of people all talking at once, proximity of other bodies, and the taste of unfamiliar foods can throw a child into a state of complete undoing.
- Make a plan to decrease the sensory input for your child. Ask her what would feel good: would you like to go somewhere in the house if it gets to be too much? How about spending time under mom’s big jacket? What breathing exercises would you like to do to calm yourself? Focus her on special gift giving, so her attention is on others instead of herself.
- Decrease expectations for your child’s participation and ask others to do the same. Remember that intense behavior such as tantrums come from being overwhelmed. If you’ve already had a lot of excitement before the big gathering, your child may be simply unable to take more input. Ask for understanding, explaining that “She just has trouble with too much stimulation at once. We’ve made a plan, and I hope you can support us in it.”
- Go to her frequently throughout the visit to give her positive statements about how well she’s doing. “When you take care of yourself while we’re at Aunt Sarah’s, I feel so proud of you.” “When you joined us for that little chat in the living room and gave out your ornaments, I could tell Grandma really enjoyed it.” “When you were able to play with your little cousin in the den, I know it meant a lot to her.”
These statements help your child stay on a “string of successes.” She will respond with more successes, as you are causing a response in her body that says, “I am good at this.” The better she feels about how she’s doing, the more she’ll do it!
This may just be a great opportunity to come away with a successful visit, which you can talk about with your child, strengthening the bond between you along with her ability to cope! Enjoy your holiday with your intense child!
If you would like help with this or any other parenting issue, click here for all the info on parent coaching.