Minimize stress and maximize the gifts of the season


Julie Gardner, former ParentLink Associate, University of Missouri Extension

Parents, be warned that a RED and GREEN alert has been declared by family support professionals who want you and your children to experience positive relationships during (and beyond) the holiday season.

During the holidays, parents who are already stressed in their daily lives are subject to additional stressors that can take away from what is supposed to be a jolly season. Make a decision to take time to slow down. Make time each day for you and your loved ones so that all of you will experience the benefits of the holiday season.

According to Karen Debord, Ph.D., a North Carolina child development state extension specialist, stress works like this:

  • Small things that bother you pile up or an unexpected event occurs.
  • You react and must think about how to deal with the stressor, which may involve the need for money, time, family support and/or other resources.
  • You react to the stress and take action.
  • The event either turns into a crisis, or you make a plan to deal with it using your coping skills and resources.

The holiday season can be a time of pile up. The main additional pressures are related to finances, family and time. Expectations that are unrealistic will contribute to you feeling more stressed. For example, if your family has an unresolved conflict, it is unlikely that perfect peace will occur just because of the holiday.

The following lists are suggestions from family education and support professionals to help minimize the stress and maximize the gifts of the season…

For these helpful suggestions, check out the full version of this article at


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