Kids Driving You (Christmas) Crazy?

What do you picture when you think about the holidays? Carolers glowing with good will? Children wide-eyed with the magic of the season? All too often those wide eyes are fixed on commercials, X-boxes and an ever-growing wish list of I-hafta-have’s.

It’s no small task to combat the modern holiday spirit. Not only is consumerism considerably more tempting (and well-funded) than your campaign for the true meaning of the season, but the last thing you want is to come off as a prehistoric advocate for Little Cindy Lou Who. But how do you communicate what’s important about the holidays without sounding preachy, corny or old-fashioned?

Your kids are down-to-earth. They’re generous and sensitive at heart, and they’re receptive to the wisdom you have to offer them, regardless of the front they may show you. It’s just that sometimes it takes a few approaches before you find a way to get through to them. After all, it’s not our job as parents to tell them what to think, but to influence them, nudge them and challenge them into discovering that wisdom for themselves. If you feel like your kids are drowning in consumerism, don’t despair. It may have been said many times, many ways, but there is still no shortage of ways to communicate the true meaning of the season.

Put the ball in their court
While preaching about the meaning of the holidays will only shut them down, asking questions encourages active participation in the concept. Try asking them earnestly about what this time of year brings out in people and why that might be. When you think about how people from so many backgrounds, cultures and beliefs hold this season sacred in some way, it really is remarkable. People are naturally curious about people; they’ll probably be moved to explore the question and offer a response. Asking an honest question can be surprisingly effective–you avoid the stigma of telling them what to think, while opening up an entire world of possibilities. Even if you don’t get the response you were looking for, be patient. Chances are the question will stay with them for some time and stir up some unexpected thoughts.

Tell stories
Storytelling is a powerful medium for communication. Collect uplifting stories you read in the paper and hear on the radio, and share them with your kids. If you feel like current events are lacking in the inspiration department, look to a collection of inspirational short stories and pass them along. You can also rent DVDs or Tivo biographies and movies that are positive and affirming, as well as entertaining. From heroism to thoughtfulness to simple sweetness, provide them with the tools to be inspired, and they will be.

Enlist their help
Let the kids in on your gift planning. Take them with you as you shop for something meaningful for a family member and ask for (and value) their input. If they have to exercise their thoughtfulness muscles on your behalf, they’re much more likely to keep them in shape, and you can dialogue with them on why gifts can help your loved ones feel loved and appreciated. You never know; your kids may have some surprising insights that make your holiday shopping that much easier.

Need help communicating with your kids? Let a gifted reader help give you some insight. Call 1.800.573.4830 or click here now.

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