Dec 09

The 3 G’s – How to Have a Satisfying Holiday Season – Even When Your Child Is Struggling

The 3 G's - Give, Grow, and Gratitude.

The 3 G’s – Give, Grow, and Gratitude.

The holidays can be a particularly hard time for parents of struggling kids.  Our children may be away at treatment or physically and emotionally estranged from us.  It might seem inappropriate to make merry and be jolly, as the season seems to encourage us to try to do.  In spite of this, there are things we can do to make the holidays satisfying and meaningful.

Here are 3 ideas:

Give.  No matter how dire our own circumstances, it feels good to give.  Especially this time of year, the giving possibilities are endless.  We can put a dollar in the Salvation Army bell ringer’s pot, give to Toys for Tots, spend time with a lonely friend, or work at a soup kitchen.  Honestly, it doesn’t matter what it is, because it is all giving, and giving is every bit as good for the giver as it is for the receiver.  Find the way that works best for you!

GrowGive yourself the gift of personal growth this season.  Read a book (see my recommended reading list), learn about your child’s diagnosis, hire a coach, go to a parent support meeting, etc.  Working on yourself is one of the best things you can do for your child.  Don’t miss the opportunity while your child is struggling to learn and grow from it yourself.  There is no right or wrong way to do this, but there is a best way for YOU.

Gratitude.  Barry Neil Kaufman says it best in his quote, “Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to finding peace of mind and happiness inside. No matter what is going on outside of us, there’s always something we could be grateful for.”  The secret for us parents of struggling kids is to identify those things that we truly have to be grateful for, and to express that gratitude.  This process will keep us focused on what is right in our lives, and not on what difficulties our child is going through.

My hope for you is that you find meaning, enjoyment, and peace this holiday season.

There is more to come.  Stay tuned next week for The 3 C’s – More Ways to Add Meaning to You Holiday Season – Even If Your Child Is Struggling.


Leslie Ferris is a Certified and Credentialed Life Coach

Serving the parents of struggling tweens, teens, and young adults

Contact her today for your 1/2 complimentary discussion to explore what life coaching can do for you.

Connect with her via her website at http://www.phase2foryou.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Phase2ForYou

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Leslie_Ferris

LinkedIn:   www.linkedin.com/in/leslieferris/

Click here to access our Audio and Workbook – 4 Giant Pitfalls to Avoid While Your Child Is In Recovery

This is a great gift for yourself or a friend!


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  1. Cathy Taughinbaugh

    Great article here, Leslie! The holidays can be challenging for parents of children who are struggling. I love your three tips. Begin grateful has helped me recently. Just writing down three things a day makes a big difference. It is a great reminder of what is going well in my life.

    1. Leslie Ferris

      Thanks Cathy. Writing down 3 things – that’s a good idea. Keeps it all very top of mind. Thanks for that tip!

  2. Douglas

    What a great article. You are absolutely right. Gratitude, Giving (or getting your mind off of your own problems), and Growth are the way to turn your life around.

    1. Leslie Ferris

      Thanks Douglas, appreciate that! Yes they can be life changers beyond just helping out during the holidays!

  3. Carele

    Beautiful article. These are the essentials for this holiday season. Gratitude to you.

    1. Leslie Ferris

      Thanks Carele, and likewise to you…..

  4. Diana Foree

    Thanks for the article Leslie. Very beautifully stated and a good reminder especially about gratitude.

    1. Leslie Ferris

      Thanks Diana for stopping around my blog!

  5. Bill White, Licensed Counselor

    GGGreat perspective, Leslie. I can’t think of three better things to focus upon when doing one’s best to participate in a joyful time of the year – and all is not so calm and bright. It’s an effort, to be sure, but well worth the expenditure. Guess you could say the rough times provide the opportunity for improvement of self and – its impact upon the growth of others. Pretty cool, I’d say. Thank you, Leslie…

    1. Leslie Ferris

      Thanks Bill. Yes everything presents opportunity if we decide to look at it that way, but boy is it difficult sometimes!! Cheers.

  6. Marie Gervacio

    Perfect article Leslie! This time of year can be trying for many, so finding ways to give, grow and have gratitude is excellent advice in making the transformation to happiness.

    1. Leslie Ferris

      Thanks Marie. Yes you are right in that as fun as this time of year is for some, it is equally trying and even painful for others!

  7. Lisa Frederiksen - BreakingTheCycles.com

    Boy, Leslie, this is such an important article. It’s very difficult when in the throws of a loved one’s addiction or substance abuse problem to find joy. These suggestion can be used all year long, as well. Thank you for all you do!

  8. Norma Doiron @Savvy Biz Solutions

    Wowsers! Totally agree… in the end, it is about how to give, serve OTHERS. It’s a life law; if you focus on your struggles, challenges all the time, your spirit will get sad and sick. But – when you focus on helping others, it jumps back to life! Great message here – BALANCE IS the KEY! Thanks.

    1. Leslie Ferris

      Thanks Norma, appreciate that! Yes balance is crititcal, and not always so hard to come by. But we can keep striving for it!

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