Why Holidays Are Tricky For Children From Hard Places

Loss

All those yummy smells, well meaning hugs, holiday tunes, and delicious foods can remind your adopted children of what they have lost: their original families. Oftentimes, this occurred before they even could speak. But their bodies remember, react to, and and mourn that loss. Even if that first family was unhealthy, it doesn’t matter. They never forget! Never underestimate the power the loss of the birth family has upon your children. Instead of ignoring or bypassing this fact, embrace it and help your child navigate through these hard feelings of previous broken family connections. This is never more true then during the holiday season.

Look within Behaviors

All families know that the holidays are stressful and that all children have difficulty coping at one point or another throughout the season. Your job is to play detective and investigate why your child is struggling. What are they trying to tell you with their behaviors? Instead of assuming your child is sabotaging the holidays, connect with them and ask questions. Depending on your child’s age, you may need to narrate some possible feelings for them. “Are you remembering the holidays you shared with your biological family? Is our holiday baking making you feel sad and confused? Are you feeling left out? Does your stomach feel tied in knots? Are you feeling afraid and do not know why?”

Grief

Helping your child connect to the grief they feel will allow them to process their feelings. This open dialogue helps your child to feel seen, understood, and safe by you, their parent. Making pretend that everything that happened to them before they met you should all be wiped away because of your love is not true. Your child will have many complicated feelings about their past and it has nothing to do with you. Honoring their losses will help you all to move forward more realistically throughout the tricky holiday season. You will teach your child to grieve and this is how they heal.

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