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The Happiest Time of the Year - Or is it?

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December is often called the happiest time of the year. All the lights and sparkly things flash before our eyes. No one notices those things more than our kids, as retailers market all their fun things to them, creating many conversations around the items they feel they must have.

As these discussions are happening, the opportunity arises to discuss how to deal with disappointment. Disappointment is one of those life skills we don't like to experience, yet we all face addressing it in our lives. Taking the time to share about hoping for something that doesn't happen is important to help our children understand. Knowing they will have to face this difficult experience at some point doesn't mean all is destroyed. Preparing kids to deal with disappointment will make a big difference when faced with it again.

In our culture, projects, situations, and gifts may not be attainable, yet young children can only sometimes distinguish advertisements from reality. These situations allow you to talk with your kids about your family and focus on the wonderful things your family will be doing during the holidays. No parents want to disappoint their kids, but reality says some gifts are just not in the budget. Having those conversations is the opportunity to guide our children toward managing these situations and dealing with disappointment.

Taking the time to have these family discussions will have unmeasurable rewards. It still might not take away the disappointment but will help the child walk through facing it better than facing it without any preparation. The child having some understanding of dealing with disappointment won't take away the sting it can cause, but the recovery from the experience will be quicker.

When your child is faced with disappointment, how it is handled makes all the difference. Acknowledging their disappointment is important for them. They want to know they are heard, and expressing empathy is important, but don't try to solve their problem. This is a time to guide them through this process and help them understand the situation and how to move forward. Learning to process their emotions is a life skill and not always a fun one to understand, yet builds a stronger understanding of gratitude.

Embrace this holiday season with your family. Taking the time to talk about the hard things makes the wonderful times even better for everyone. May this be a wonderful season of learning with your family.

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