The holidays can be a challenge for many families and especially so if your child is struggling with their mental health.
These are some ideas to help you as a parent to find your way through the next few weeks.
TRC would like to write all parents and carers a prescription for some self-care during the holidays. Whether it is a long walk, a hot bath or your choice of movie, taking a little time to reset and restore is a healthy parent essential.
An unwell, unhappy or uncooperative child can be triggering and dysregulating for those who are trying to offer them care. This can quickly lead to a cycle of dysregulation as children will tend to mirror the adults around them. Learning to stay present and to steady your own nervous system can help break the cycle. Taking a pause to breathe can be the most effective way to bring our nervous system back to balance. Click here for a demonstration.
A TRC Client shared that she and her mother have been taking the time each day to sit together and write their gratitude lists. More information about gratitude can be found here. It helps them to end the day in each other’s company whilst activating the part of them that feels capable of giving and receiving in a positive way.
It is normal to feel sad, angry, overwhelmed, numb, self-blaming, alone and a whole host of other feelings when a family member is unwell. The pressure and expectations to make things perfect just because it is Christmas can intensify all of these. Let yourselves off the hook. This isn’t the same as resigning yourself to Christmas being ruined, that the illness has won or that you have failed. Instead, I invite you to relieve yourselves of the burden of trying to control things that you cannot control or don’t have the energy to do. Can you accept that this year will be a bit different? If we can work on acceptance, we might be able to connect with the feelings around this and give ourselves some support and care rather than more pressure.
Ask for help:
If you are dealing with more it is reasonable to need more. The TRC Team can help you to work together as a family to plan for the skills and strategies your child might use over the Festive Period.
Author: Michelle Scott
Psychotherapist & Eating Disorder Specialist MSc BSc RMHN (Reg MBACP)