“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” (Ian Maclaren)
This is a good thought in general, but it takes on special meaning this time of year — especially when it comes to dealing with family. Life is hard for all of us. The holiday season doesn’t lessen any of our responsibilities; if anything, it intensifies them. There are more bills to pay, additional end-of-year reports to prepare, and worries we never thought of as children.
But let’s not forget that being young isn’t exactly a piece of cake either. Adults tend to gloss over the difficult things children deal with, expecting them to be grateful for the easy life we’re providing for them. Their world is filled with fear, hurt, frustration, and uncertainty, too. There’s a lot going on in those bodies, those hearts, those minds. Circumstances can overwhelm them without them really knowing why, and whey they get overwhelmed they tend to freak out — just like you do.
Giving everyone — especially your kids — a little extra grace this time of year can really help. Clear boundaries and a healthy dose of empathy when they cross those boundaries (while still allowing their choices to have consequences) is crucial to developing great relationships.