I was thinking about what to write for December and I kept getting taps on the shoulder in the form of conversations I was having with people. A friend of mine said, “Gosh Sandra if only this time of year wasn’t so hectic. Hubby does nothing to help!” Or another friend said, “That wife of mine seems so preoccupied with everything, and her moods are shocking! She made a comment the other day that we never offer to do anything around the house for Christmas!” 

What with the year that we have had and the stress of Santa arriving I’m not surprised tempers are flaring. Some styles just don’t relate well to this time of the year. I remember as a child we went camping for three weeks at Christmas. Now in those days (I’m in the sixties club), we just went with the basics and it must have been really stressful for my mum when packing for three kids and hubby who loved to fish. Where we went was isolated as well, with no general store to buy groceries, not to mention there weren’t camping fridges in those days? Milk powder it was! 

Anyway mum wasn’t that great at expressing how she felt. The stress only came out when we were misbehaving. For those styles, especially your spouse, that find it hard to express how they are feeling, and withdraw, you have to understand what the observable behavior is saying. Remember all behavior is communication.

Always stay and be calm, as some styles are more sensitive than others and more reactive. And some styles can take forever to get things done and for some this can be really frustrating. When it comes to homework, as parents some of us think that it is important and some think that other family activities come first, for example. Studies have shown though, that homework doesn’t make a significant impact on children’s learning. Thank goodness parents don’t have to worry about homework in the holiday season. 

Read Temperament

It’s about reading the temperament of others – those aspects of an individual’s personality,  because sometimes we can miss-read behavior. Think of it like this. We wear these glasses that filter out certain behavior in others, based on our mindset and beliefs.  So if in doubt check it out.

There’s lots of things happening over the festive season, like food happening, other family members visiting happening, out of routines happening and for some this can be upsetting. Meal times can be a huge issue for some families. We put food in front of children and then we put all these conditions on eating it. At the end of the day it’s about kids having the choice to eat as you can’t force them. Don’t stress over the small things I say, especially at Christmas.  Your kids will be happier if you both are not so stressed out as well, don’t you think?  

Make a Plan Together 

Here’s some ideas to think about when creating a plan together: 

  1. Keep talking even when the going gets tough. These words are great to use, “When you________, I felt__________, beacuse________and next time can you___________.
  2. Agree and stay committed to not taking it out on your kids when you have had an argument. Remember commitment is caring deeply about someone or something, and keeping your promises. 
  3. Breathe and stay calm, and take some time out if you have to gather your thoughts before speaking.  
  4. Show respect and kindness in those difficult moments. For those of you that tend to become argumentative when unders stress, apologize when you’ve said hurtful things you really didn’t mean. Show respect by speaking and acting with courtesy, and show kindness by doing something that will make life better for others, being thoughtful of their needs.  
  5. Do, look for qualities (virtues) in yourself and your children, and try not to be a perfectionist. Guide your children to act on the best within them. For example encouraging them to be kind by sharing their toys. Acknowledge your spouse for being helpful or thoughtful. Just don’t ignore their helpfulness or thoughtfulness, because you think that this is their job.
  6. Be authentic and honest about how you feel with compassion. When you are honest you are being truthful and sincere with your words and actions. Don’t try to be more than you are to impress others.  You know, when you are with those family members that you don’t get along with. It might take some courage to speak up, and you will be demonstrating to your kids that honesty and compassion is what it takes to build authentic relationships. 

So, I hope that you do take the time to sit down with your spouse and even your kids to create a plan for the holidays for creating memories that you can look back on that are filled with fun, love and laughter. I invite you to share this post with your extended family and friends so that they can create their own plan. If you would like to connect with more like minded parents come on over and join our Facebook group, Parents with Teens, Tweens and anything In between. 

I mentioned about understanding observable behavior and reading the temperament of others, so you might like to take my free DISC Assessment for learning what DISC Styles you are. I promise you this report will open your eyes to what is possible when you understand the emotions, needs and fears that are driving your behavior. Oh, and why not get your spouse to take one too. 

So, I’d like to wish you, your spouse and family a safe and happy joy filled festive season. I’m looking forward to posting more of my thoughts when 2022 comes around.