Surviving The Holidays With An Anxious Child

Surviving The Holidays With An Anxious Child

Writing off the entire holiday season is tempting when your child’s recovery is fragile and new. You want to protect them and their sobriety as much as you can. Getting out into the world and experiencing life’s challenges is what their recovery is truly about. They cannot learn to live sober in a sheltered environment. Your child’s well being in mind, body, and spirit, should come first. The dilemma of every parent is realizing sometimes that means encouraging our child to experience a bit of discomfort. Going to holiday parties is important for socializing and learning to socialize sober. Early months of recovery, even later years of recovery, can be uncomfortable during the holidays. Holidays serve as a metaphor for the rest of recovery. Anything is possible for your child when they are sober. They are capable of getting through anything.

If your child begins displaying extreme signs of emotional distress, take consideration. It can be hard to discern when there is authentic emotional distress or the emotional distress of a temper tantrum to prevent holiday outings. Engage in communication, urging your child to use their words and feelings to communicate their wants and needs. Together, you can find a compromise and create a plan that allows everyone to enjoy the holidays in a way that works for them.

Create conversations together

Your family, friends, and community might be aware that your adolescent or teen has spent some time in a rehabilitation facility. On the contrary, if they have not been made aware of your child’s stay in treatment, they might have noticed they have not been around for many months. Noticing your child, there will be questions of where have they been, what have they been doing, is it true they’ve been to rehab so young. Change the conversation by asking about their lives. If you and your family have discussed talking openly about recovery, educate others and act as an advocate for your child.

Make a game out of talking to people

Talking to people shortly after treatment can be intimidating for your child. Both parents and children alike may feel elements of nerves and embarrassment. Together, make a game about how many new people you can meet and how many things you can learn about them. During the party or after, get together and share the details. Make it a research project- ask everyone their favorite color and flavor ice cream. Write it down! Then analyze the data after.

Have a signal for moments of distress

Getting overwhelmed is possible and likely. Though your child is testing their wings and learning to fly in their recovery, they still need to know that they are safe and can trust you, their parent, to be there when they need you. Decide on the signal together. If you see the sign, drop what you’re doing and attend to your child to offer your support.

Have a plan for moments of distress

Through treatment and recovery, your child has learned what they need for self-care and how to communicate it. Whether they need to tune into some music, take a walk, call a friend in recovery, a 12-step sponsor, and do a meditation exercise, encourage them to take whatever precaution necessary to keep themselves grounded and on track.


Treatment during the holidays is a challenge because families want to be together. Addiction tears families apart. Now is the best time to set you and your family on course for total recovery. Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers long-term residential treatment programs for adolescent and teenage boys. Building positive foundations through life cleansing therapies, boys graduate from our program ready to take on life.

Call us today for information: 662-598-4214

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