Holiday lessons I have learned from my many years as a Family Therapist.
I remember when I was a young therapist working with a couple that was around the age I am now. This couple had disclosed to me that over the holidays they would be in Italy.
As their children left the nest and started to build their own nests, the couple found themselves spending more holidays alone. Inspired by the movie “Skipping Christmas,” the couple started traveling over the holidays; and hence, set off their new holiday tradition. Honestly the wife stated, “We did not want to be a Christmas burden to our children. We understood our children had to create their own holiday traditions, and it was time to recreate ours.”
This family (parents and children) were in a transition. Transition (the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another) is always a difficult time for any family system. Most families seeking Family Therapy are in a state of transition.
Here are some lessons I have learned in Marriage & Family Therapy School:
· Our children are only ours for a very short time — if you have only lived your life for your children, this transition will be difficult.
· Your spouse is your life mate and your family. So on the holiday if it’s just the two of you, you are a complete family.
· One day your spouse will die and your family will no longer be complete so enjoy each other for this time is precious.
· If you are single, this transition will be a difficult journey for both the parent and the child. This is when the kindness of friends and family is so important.
· Creating a new young family system is a very difficult transition, one that can take up to five years.
· History most always repeats itself. We are role models for the next generation.
· Our parents will die one day, and we will miss them.
I like to imagine this ending for the family from long ago — By year five of skipping Christmas, their daughter invites them over for Christmas dinner or they are packing to go on one of those river cruises through Russia!
Either way it is all good.
May all of your transitions be filled with love and kindness bringing your family peace, hope and joy!,
Happy Holidays from all of us at THE FAMILY THERAPY CENTER LLC!
We would love to hear about some of your holiday transitions at www.thefamilytherapycenterllc.com.
Helen Skovran MS LMFT
Founder, Director & Clinical Supervisor
Serving the Bristol Community since 1997.