By Lauren Schifferdecker (and the help of all the Inspire therapists!)
Halloween always seems to be a hot topic, but now more than ever. This year, there’s a little thing — you might have heard of — called COVID, which has thrown off the best of us. Parents you have a lot to navigate with logistics (how the heck do we get a Candy shoot!?), health concerns, and social concerns and so much more.
We hear you! We get it. You are not alone, and we are here to help.
af the emotional issues happening this Halloween for parents of little kids, middle kids and older kids.
Start by Taping into YOUR Family’s Values
Before looking around, polling other parents, and asking what everyone else is doing—take a few minutes to think about your families personal values.
Ask yourself what is important? What do YOU want to do? How does your family want to handle Halloween?
Every family has unique circumstances. Some other family’s choices may not be right for you. It’s a hard lesson, even as an adult, but it’s a really important one to practice and model for your kids.
Better yet, talk to them about it. Tell your kids how hard it can be to make different choices from other friends, even as an adult, but why you are doing it. Your kids may not thank you for it, but they’ll take note. They are watching and listening and there’s nothing better than you MODELING to them your own values.
Halloween Hurt Feelings
Halloween can shine a pretty bright light on social groups. Coordinating costumes, trick-o-treating groups, parties, and more. This can be a lot of fun, but it can also be very painful if your child is left out. Watching your child struggle is so hard – at any age!
If you think your child is getting left out, we recommend taking 3 important steps:
Step 1 –– Check in with yourself. Ask yourself how are you feeling? Are you sad, angry, hurt, scared? Knowing your own feelings helps regulate how you are feeling and helps your brain to think more clearly.
Step 2 – Take 5 deep breaths. It’s easy, it’s free, you can do it anywhere, anytime. Here’s what happens—you get oxygen to your brain so you can think clearly and get some new creative ideas.
Step 3 – Don’t assume you know what your child is feeling. Ask THEM. It might be different than what you’re feeling. You might be upset, but they might not be. Or vice versa. No matter what, let your child feel what they are feeling, even if it’s different than what you’re feeling. It is really emotionally healthy if you allow people in your home (and life) to have different emotions at the same time.
Older Kids Freedom & Parties
For the older kids, Junior High, High School, and beyond, it’s a tug-of-war with control and safety.
Now, with COVID on the rise again (groan), parent’s concerns for safety and health are especially heightened. Understandably so!
This is a hard one. Part of the control struggle with your teen is natural and normal, it’s actually happening by design. Adolescents brains are wired to separate from you, your sound advice and your opinions. Their brains are designed to go out and make their OWN adult lives and futures. This is a good thing, but it can feel very frustrating to see them make stupid mistakes (especially if they’re the same mistakes you’ve already made!!!).
Try two things if you’re in a power struggle or concerned about your older kids
FIRST – Take a few deep breaths. Think of challenges you’ve overcome in your life. Remind yourself how far you and your child have come, mistakes and all. Talk kindly to yourself, like you would a friend. Remind yourself you’re doing the best you can, but your job is not to control your child.
You can not teach them all the life-lessons you wish you knew at their age. That’s life’s job. You can’t protect them from all the challenges they will face. In fact, they NEED to face their own challenges, learn their own life lessons. BUT, you are still very important to them, and always will be.
SECOND – Talk with your kid. Ask questions. Focus on your relationship with your child.
There’s an old adage from parenting experts that says:
“RULES without RELATIONSHIP lead to REBELLION”
Focus on your care, love and respect for your child. Let them know your concerns, or wishes, and how it is part of you wanting the BEST for them. Help them see the choices they make and how they can benefit their lives and futures –their physical health, mental health, relationships, etc.
Even when they’re older, kids still need their parents. They need your love, support, guidance. But if it comes across like you telling them what to do, they will repel. We often say it’s like the opposite game. You say left, they’ll go right.
Remember, that is not personal. It’s not a reflection of your parenting. This is them trying to explore and become an adult. Talk to them like an adult. And above all else- focus on the relationship.
Lauren Schifferdecker is the owner and founder of Inspire. She loves this community with all her heart. The Inspire team is doing all they can to support you through this challenging season. If you want to get more support during this time, please don’t struggle alone.
We are here and will do all we can to make you feel comfortable, loved, appreciated and inspired to live your best life.
Life is simply too precious and too short to settle. You deserve to have someone in your corner. You deserve to be happy and live your best life!
To schedule your own private “person in your corner” for support, call (847) 919-9096 ext 1 or click here.