Holiday Parenting

As we approach the holidays I hear the same old complaints. Adults squash their child’s ability to find the positive in life by complaining about all the work that accompanies a good time. No matter where they live, what kind of home they have or what the finances are – children hope that maybe….just maybe….the holidays will be filled with a little spark of fun and a few moments of love and genuine happiness.

Even if the child has never had it before, even if there’s no hope of it happening – the tiniest spark of desire will be there. Maybe just maybe – there is a Santa. Maybe just maybe – there is a Jesus. Maybe just maybe – I’ll be excited or happy or loved – even if it’s just for the moment.

Crashing their hopes and dreams, Mom or Dad enters the room screaming about chores that must be done and how they hate the holidays because of all the work. Even in homes where holidays are celebrated and children are treated with respect – Mom often mutters under her breath until little Sally decides that Christmas isn’t a fun holiday after all.

Little feet dance with anticipation in the long line to see Santa, while mothers argue, fuss and pull at their children until seeing Santa is the end result of an exasperating trip. Children’s eyes are wide with excitement as they glance at the live trees on the lot. They smell the pine, crunch along the saw dust and imagine twinkling lights over large packages. Then Dad barks about how heavy the tree is or how much sap will be on the carpet and little eyes droop with the heaviness of fake holiday cheer. No wonder so many young adults would rather spend the holidays with their friends. The joy of a decorated house and loving family interactions has been replaced with bad attitudes and impossible goals.

You don’t have to come right out and stand against the holidays in order to destroy them. You can simply “complain” them to death.

“But Debbie, that’s not fair. I work like a dog during the holidays and I’m exhausted. Shouldn’t my family pay attention to me and allow me to vent a little?”

It’s difficult to suffer in silence. I know. I’ve done it many times. The question should not be what do you need – the question should be what is the goal? If you goal is to inspire your family to enjoy each other during the Holidays, then all the little snide remarks about greedy companies, selfish in-laws and demanding children does not support your goal.

If your goal is to bring your family together in peace and enjoy the time you have with them – negative thoughts, complaints and rants should not be allowed. If your goal is to have everyone bow at your feet because of the work you’ve done – then perhaps you need to draw up a contract that will produce a well thought out Thank You rather than simply voicing your complaints.

This year, rather than personally concentrating on the birth of Christ, perhaps parents should concentrate on the teachings of Christ. Philippians 2:14 is a great place to start.

“Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life – in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.”

Perhaps we need to ask ourselves if our children turn their backs on God because we presented his birth in such a negative light. Yes, we told them the story of the Nativity. Yes, we told them Jesus is the way the truth and the life. But did we also turn Thanksgiving and Christmas into such a flurry of negative comments that we not only turned them off on the holidays but we also turned them off on the love of Jesus?


7 thoughts on “Holiday Parenting

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