Tips for Hurting Parents to Survive the Holidays

In my post yesterday I said I would share a few tips for surviving the holidays as a hurting parent.

They are good for anyone who is hurting, no matter what the cause.

Here are my four survival tips:

1) Adjust or lower your expectations. “Expectations are premeditated resentments” according to Al-Anon. Boy, is this true. If you can do this, it will protect your fragile emotions. You can avoid becoming hurt, angry or resentful. You are less likely to be disappointed. Let go of how you wish things would be. Have no expectations of your child’s participation or involvement. Then, if things work out the way you would  have wanted, great! You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

2) Consider doing things differently. Maybe doing your usual traditions will make you more sad or be too difficult in light of the situation with your son or daughter. If you always cooked a big meal, you could go to a restaurant, or to someone else’s house. If you opened gifts at night, then change it up and open them in the morning.

3) Focus on others. Do something kind for someone who has a need. You don’t have to look too far to find hurting or lonely people.It could be as simple as sending them a card, or you could take them out for a meal, give them a box of candy, flowers, or a gift card. This takes your attention off yourself and lightens the burden you are carrying. Doing it anonymously would be extra fun.

4) Be grateful. Keep giving thanks no matter how you feel. Start a thanksgiving journal or a gratitude list. Write down at least one thing in it every day. Don’t  include only big things – a job, a promotion at work, a new car, etc. Notice little things, too. Birds singing, a beautiful sunset, the smell of something you like. Today I will write in my gratitude book that I’m thankful for a delicious dinner I had last night.

If you try any of these things I promise it will help you survive the holidays in better emotional shape than if you didn’t.

I encourage you to try at least one of these ideas. If it helps you, then share about it with a friend. You never know, they may need a few survival tips themselves!

May God help you apply the suggestions that will help you the most. May He give you hope and comfort this holiday season.

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