Have you gotten yourself into a rut of doing most of the planning and preparing for the holidays? Perhaps you end up “asking” for help and you get resistance such as “Why do I have to? Can’t you do it? “I’m too busy.” “I don’t want to help.”
In this scenario, you are acting as though you are the only one responsible to get things done. It’s as though you are the only one who benefits from decorating, cookie making, gift wrapping, etc. When you ask for help, you present it as an option of answering with either a “Yes”, or a “No”.
I suggest you have a discussion with your kids so you can shift your role to actually being the Collaborator rather than the Director. With this approach, everyone realizes that they benefit from the holiday activities so it’s important that they contribute as well. (I talk about the Collaborator Role in chapters 31 – 34 in Ally Parenting.)
Here’s how you could start:
“I realize that I’m acting as if all the holiday activities we do like (wrapping presents, cookie making, and getting the house ready for guests) are all my responsibility.” (Fill in what you do that you want everyone to do.)
“I’m wondering if you like (all the decorations, the cookies, the wrapped gifts under the tree)? “
Then STOP and listen. This is when you would use steps 1 and 2 of the Collaborator Problem-Solving Process. 1. Stop blocking and 2. Listen Openly. Think of this listening as a time for you to learn about their thoughts and feelings about the holiday activities. (Chapters 9 – 13.)
DO NOT lecture or tell them that they NEED to help. That you are TIRED of doing it all by yourself. That you feel UNAPPRECIATED because you do it all yourself. Using shaming and guilt will definitely shut them down. It may be really hard to zip your lips, yet this is what is essential to do at this point.
After your children express the value they experience in some of the activities, then you will be able to have a friendly collaborative discussion about how to get everything done TOGETHER. Collaboration works when everyone wants to solve a challenge. Often kids don’t know the value they place on an activity until you guide them to think about how the activity impacts them. Kids’ and teens’ brains are not mature enough to think through this process on their own often.
Please don’t get upset with your kids when they complain about helping. Instead, try my suggestion above to help them get emotionally invested in the activities so they want to help. It’s tricky to do I admit. Let me know if you need some more detailed guidance on how to do this. You can contact me for a complimentary clarity session to learn how to tackle your challenges and find effective solutions that work. You can quickly get the answers you need and make those much need changes right away. Sign up today to learn what you can do now to create more harmony in your home.
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Copyright 2022 Cynthia Klein.