Avoid holiday stress: Practice gratitude with your ADHD child

Feet in wool socks near fireplace in winter timeIt’s that holiday time of the year again. In all of the hustle and bustle to plan get togethers, shop for presents, wrap them and prepare festive meals, we sometimes are  just too busy to stop and consider the blessings in our lives. I am not talking about the things people post on Facebook or Instagram. Rather, I am thinking about being grateful for our families and the people in them–for the ways that make them unique and lovable to you.

Family All Together At Christmas DinnerBeing able to appreciate ADHD kids for who they are–talents, warts and all is especially important to helping them develop the healthy self-esteem they need to grow into happy, productive adults. Ideally, noticing what your child is doing well happens every day or close to it. During the holidays, when many families spend extra time together, you have additional opportunities to connect positively with your kids and show them how grateful you are to have them in your life. Too often, ADHD kids hear more about the ways in which they miss the mark than the ways that they make a hit. Paying attention to what you love about them offers a balance for those ‘misses’ and the holidays are the perfect time to even the score a bit.

Happy family in winterAt this time of year, when the days are shorter, when we are living in the midst of giving and receiving, I encourage you to bring some extra light to your ADHD families by thinking about these questions:

  1. What do you really appreciate about your ADHD son or daughter? When was the last time you told them? Can you make an effort to say something during the next week at a time when they are showing you what you love?
  2. What unique gifts does your ADHD son or daughter have? How do you let them know what is special about them?
  3. What interests your child? How can you join them in something that is fun for them over the holidays even if it isn’t your favorite thing?

HAPPY HOLIDAYS with multicoloured bokeh lightsAcknowledging the positive, noticing individual talents and doing activities together all show your ADHD child or teen that you care about who they are and you are glad that they are in your lives. They see how much they matter to you while you are showing them what giving love really looks like. You also nurture their self-confidence by spending quality time together. Most importantly, you reflect the essence of the holiday season by giving and receiving joy from the strength of your connectedness with your child and family. Ultimately, isn’t this what celebrating the holidays is all about?!

I wish you and your families peace, love and health in the New Year.