Preparing Our Children for the Holidays

We are definitely and solidly in the holiday season now. I was definitely reminded this last week of how many people struggle with unhealthy family dynamics during the holidays. My inbox, my online subscriptions, and my personal Facebook feed (and Facebook memories) were filled with hurt feelings and reminders that home and family are often the places where the most hurts lie. Since this is my first holiday season with Tiny post grad-school, it’s got me thinking about what I can do to prepare for this season.

Today’s post isn’t really a ‘mantra’ but it’s a reminder that I certainly needed. This was a piece of advice Hubbin and I were given early in our marriage and to which we continue to adhere. I believe it is invaluable advice any time of the year but most especially during the holidays.

adult situations

I strongly believe that large family gatherings are some of the most likely places for children to be confronted with adult situations and issues. My biggest concern as a parent is the fall-out when these concerns are addressed. I think there are two kinds of fall-out:

  1. Those adults who insist that they can continue to do it their own way, adults who are far more concerned with having their self-seeking habits of behavior be upheld with as few boundaries on their behavior as possible.
  2. Adults who watch a toxic scene unfold but remain far more concerned with maintaining appearances and stroking narcissistic egos than speaking up for those they love, especially children.

There are always those adults who, when confronted with their own bad behavior, patently refuse to change course. It is hard to deal with this as an adult but I simply refuse to expose Tiny to this kind of toxic behavior. This mostly means we say no to a lot of invitations. It also means that we aren’t afraid to leave when certain behaviors start to rear their ugly heads.

In some ways it is difficult to share this of rumination without providing graphic examples from my own life but, in reality, that wouldn’t really be helpful… and it could spur even more drama. In other ways it’s easy to keep these kinds of stories to myself because reliving the hurt is difficult. Hubbin and I studiously avoid certain gatherings because there are multiple adults in particular situations who routinely exhibit both types of fall-out behavior (even before Tiny was in the picture). Suffice it to say this is something with which Hubbin and I have significant experience. It’s also something that we’ve read a lot about.

I am determined to teach Tiny that it’s okay to walk away and to filter her relationships, which is something that has to be modeled for her. I am equally determined to get through the holiday season with my emotional health (more or less) intact. To achieve both ends I have to realistically anticipate toxic situations and avoid them.


To support my emotions as I prepare to protect my Tiny against holiday drama, I’m using YL’s Valor blend. Valor, with it’s uplifting and affirming aroma, is a versatile blend for supporting self-esteem, inspiring courage, refocusing emotions, and setting purposeful goals.  It’s part of hubbin’s PTSD protocol and was an important part of my study-supporting aromatherapy. Although I definitely diffuse this oil at home, I love using it topically as a fragrance, wearing it over my heart, on my wrists, and at my temples.


The images for today’s post were found on Pinterest and on the YL website.

These are some great resources for preparing to teach and model boundaries for your kids during the holidays, especially for little girls.

  • Motherwell has a great post titled “Fighting the Patriarchy One Grandpa at a Time.” The confrontation in this piece resonates with me because it is an accurate reflection of some of the behaviors displayed at our own holiday gatherings. I felt empowered by this particular article, as if I finally realized that I wasn’t the only one. The content could easily support parents who are consent and little boys, too, or for someone who needs a little support when it comes to simply standing their ground. It’s definitely worth the read.
  • This article, “She Doesn’t Owe Anyone A Hug,” by the Girl Scouts of America is a short and easy read but it’s power-packed with good information for parents (and, really, for anybody).
  • Here is an older post about walking away, whether the reason family drama or even just feeling plain tired.
  • If you missed it, here is a post from a couple months ago regarding teaching children about consent. It think it’s definitely worth revisiting as we prepare for the holidays.
  • And, finally, if you need a good laugh, here’s  a great video by Scary Mommy – because we all need a little Momsplain once in a while.

You can find more information on Valor (and the Valor Roll-on) in the Essential Oils Pocket Reference by Life Science Publishing (I am currently using the fifth edition) and Healing Oils of the Bible by David Stewart Ph.D., as well as The Young Living Website. Valor is also mentioned on these blogs by Young Living.

You can always send me a message with your questions about Valor, too.

And finally, tune in this month for some other ideas for simplifying your holidays and ways to support your emotional health through the season.

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