As Thanksgiving approaches, you may be looking forward to spending time with family, eating yummy food, and watching football. Or you may be dreading the change in routine which may trigger meltdowns for your children. Whatever your holiday may look like, I hope you can find some joy and gratitude. Sometimes that’s hard to find when you’re in the midst of meltdowns!
We had a holiday experience that repeated itself many times before we figured out what was happening and how to handle it. Before the holidays the kids would behave quite well. Then company would come over for the holiday, and the nice, well-behaved children became immature, selfish little monsters. We finally realized that having other children in the house, whether it was younger cousins or adult siblings, triggered their fear of abandonment. How? Why? Because someone else was getting Mom’s time and attention, which triggered a fear of being replaced, of being abandoned.
When we finally realized what was happening, we were able to discuss this with our children. We asked them how they felt about upcoming holidays and visitors. We explained how seeing others get attention from Mom and Dad could trigger their fears of being replaced and abandoned. Together we came up with strategies the kids could use when they were feeling neglected. As their awareness increased, their negative behaviors decreased.
Happy Thanksgiving, my fellow adoptive parents and friends! May God bless your families as you gather to give thanks next week.
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