As we step into the holiday season, many families will be getting busier. It’s a time for connection, yet many people feel more disconnected than ever. As you plan the final quarter of the year, I encourage you to consider these three things:
Where are you spending your time? Does that reflect what and who you value in life? If you or one of your kids were gone tomorrow, what regrets would you have? How can you fix that today while you are both here?
As I work with families each day, it is apparent that miscommunication is at the root of most issues that arise. Parents are loving their children, but their children only feel control. Why is that? It’s usually because families are not talking, unless it’s about something that needs to get done. Ask your kids if they feel they spend enough time with you. What would they like to do together? For teens, do they feel like you know and accept who they are? Many don’t. Healthy relationships require time and conversation.
Have the courage to say no to unreasonable demands that are placed on your children by others. Are your kids receiving so many assignments that they have trouble getting enough sleep? Are you being asked to attend sporting activities scheduled on holiday weekends, taking away from valuable time with extended family? Have you considered pushing back on school content that does not match your values as a family? It’s our job to protect our children, provide for their self-care and mental health, and to encourage family connections.
Family stability has broken down. Home has become a grab-and-go experience, rather than a sanctuary of love and connection; a place of listening, sharing and being lifted up. Many children are packing suitcases and living in two homes. Just because it’s common does not mean it’s easy or healthy.
What can you do, as you plan out this holiday season, to bring back family connection, quality memories and love? That’s what our kids need ~ they need us to get back to basics. With a world that moves so quickly, it can be hard. Choose one night a week that is family night and do something fun. Put aside holiday weekends and tell coaches and teachers in advance that your students will not be available for games or projects. Rather than teaching our kids to be victims to a life that happens to them, we can teach them to create the life that brings them and others joy and fulfillment.