Holiday gatherings can sometimes bring negative opinions, but you can overcome this to make your holidays merry and bright!
1. Recognize negative opinions and people.
Mentally prepare yourself for individuals in your family or community who may not agree with your child’s diagnosis or how you are approaching their treatment. This will allow you to walk into a gathering with a positive attitude, prepared to respond should a negative comment arise.
2. Address negative comments.
I’ll never forget when my son had a meltdown and someone said to me, “In my day, he would have gotten a good spanking.” For comments like these, I look them in the eye and say, “my son has special needs, would you like to learn more about autism?” If they say “yes,” I share a few main points with them about the disorder and answer any questions they have. If their answer is “no,” I express my disappointment and request they keep comments constructive or not make them at all. You can lead a horse to water, you can’t make it drink.
3. Choose which holiday gatherings are best for your family.
Let go of external expectations. If you know a holiday party will cause stress for your child, politely decline. Less truly is more, especially when it comes to events during the holidays. Select a gathering or two that will be comfortable and fun for your family. Thank others for inviting your family and find another time to connect with them over the holidays.
4. Be prepared with informative resources.
Here are a few posts to have in your back pocket this holiday season:
Sharing An Autism Diagnosis With Family And Friends by Rachel Ehmke at Child Mind Institute
Why My Child Doesn’t “Look” Like They Have Special Needs by Kathryn Sneed at Singing Through The Rain
5. Enjoy time together with just your family.
The holidays are often a bustling time of year, but they don’t have to be! Our family finds behaviors and anxiety decrease significantly when we focus our attention less on busyness and more on time together.
Focus on positive thoughts, words, and kindness with one another in the comfort of your home. When you fill your home with encouragement and positivity, it emboldens you and your children to face negativity with honesty and strength.