The Family gatherings of Special times
Family gatherings during the anytime of the year can be stressful. On holidays, the media is saturated with ads of the family coming together, and sharing meals, laughs, conversation, and an all-around good time. “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien Lets discuss.
Family gatherings reunion day
There are also the disastrous depictions in comedies and dramas: arguments, conflicting personalities, and tears. The fact is, many people dread family gatherings, and this can be especially true for people with depression and anxiety. Stress and negative thoughts may even start weeks leading up to the event.
Families dealing with depression
It goes without saying, but as a parent of a child with any mental issue, it is crucial that you familiarize yourself with it. Understand how depression works in general, and how it manifests in your teen. This will equip you to provide the best support you can, no matter what is going on.
When it comes to family gatherings, one option is to be open. Let the family know what your teen is going through. Educating the family not only helps your teen, but any other potential family member or friend they may come across with who has similar issues. Be careful with this, though.
Household Gatherings added stress.
Talk to your teen first, and ask if they are comfortable with sharing this experience with the family. There are indeed dangers, because people (with the best of intentions) often say things that are ignorant and insensitive, and may make the event an even worse experience for your teen.
It’s also a good idea to include your teen in the planning. Talk to them, and be familiar with their limits. Sometimes, depression can lead your teen towards isolating themselves, so it might be a good idea to encourage them to interact with others, while also letting them know that it’s okay to take some time for themselves when things get too overwhelming.
Allow them to carry along distractions like a book, MP3 player, or other comforting item. Work out an ‘escape plan’ together in case your teen needs a quick moment alone, or even if the event itself becomes too much and you decide to leave.
Of course, it’s also important to remember to not to forget your own self-care. Family gatherings can be stressful for parents, too, even those without depression or anxiety. Yes, it is good and wise to ensure your teen is able to tolerate and enjoy their time with family. However, it is just as important that you do, too. It cannot be stressed enough that parents need to be sure not to neglect themselves when caring for their children.
As daunting as these gatherings can be, with proper preparation, you can make the experience much more enjoyable and tolerable for all of you.