This year’s holiday season brings uncertainty not only for parents, but children, too. Research shows that setting up clear expectations and preparing children for even the most stressful experiences can help them cope. Establishing clear expectations and setting “ground rules” ahead of time can be especially important for children who are prone to anxiety.
Dr. Stevan Lahr of Family & Children’s Services recently spoke to KOTV News on 6 about how parents can support their children during the holiday season.
“First, parents need to have a discussion with their kids, no matter how old they are, about why things look different, and then as a family, come together to talk about how everyone is feeling,” he said.
Listening to kids and validating their feelings is another way parents can offer support and reduce stress, Dr. Lahr said. Once parents address difficult conversations, the family should discuss enjoyable times during the holiday season and brainstorm on how to recreate some of those experiences or feelings as a family.
If the child, adolescent or other family member is presenting symptoms such as anxiety, depression, excessive worrying, grief, trouble with school or concentration, please contact Family & Children’s Services at 918.587.9471 to set up an appointment. For immediate assistance, our trained mental health professionals are available 24/7 by phone to offer support and help: COPES at 918.744.4800.