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A Christmas guide for parents

Professor Matt Sanders, founder of the Positive Parenting Programme, has some advice for mums and dads

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child at Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of year for most families, but for others, the holiday season can be an emotional rollercoaster.

Many parents put themselves under pressure to buy expensive gifts to keep up with jonses or sometimes to compete with one another after the breakdown of their relationship.

However, giving your time, love, and full attention, enjoying your kids’ company and making them feel valued are all a child really needs.

To get yourself and your children through Christmas unscathed keep the following in mind:

  • Make a special effort to foster the spirit of Christmas and the excitement that goes with it
  • Minimise the potential for increased stress due to contact with extended family
  • Don’t allow unresolved tensions and frictions to come to the fore
  • Children can sense parents’ anxieties, so sort out any concerns on how to handle Christmas Day well before the event
  • Be mindful of your child’s temperament. Some children have better general coping skills than others
  • If the relationship has only recently broken down, children may be grieving about the loss of family Christmas traditions and holidays in general. Acknowledge and face this. 

For more on the Positive Parenting Programme go to triplep-parenting.uk.net/online/

Photograph: iStock