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Holiday Planning Stressing You Out?

What can you do to avoid holiday tantrums from your children? What about dealing with in-laws and grumpy teens? Or maybe your family has a long car ride ahead of them and you’re just hoping everyone still likes each other when you get to your destination?

Former CHADD President Marie Paxson answered questions for Ask the Expert on these topics and more. Ms. Paxson is a mother of grown children and the veteran of many holiday celebrations with ADHD.

Question: My 13-year-old daughter is excited about the holidays, but can't seem to handle the stress of simple things, such as finding the right outfit for a party. She blames others, especially me, for anything that doesn't go exactly as expected. Any suggestions?

Marie Paxson: Black and white thinking, huh? It is possible she is on the receiving end of too much hype. And 13-year-old girls with ADHD are so uncertain about fitting in. Perhaps you could discuss with her in advance what exactly she envisions about a holiday activity. She may have an unrealistic idea of what will transpire, so in some ways she is setting herself up for disappointment, without even realizing it.

Learning to not blame others is a skill that we all have to learn. Unfortunately, the teenage brain is still a work in progress and parents are often the closest target. There are helpful books and articles about teenage girls with ADHD that address this. And if you know in your heart that she is not really mad at you, she is just upset because something didn't match her romanticized version, it will help you feel less criticized and rejected.

Keep reading Handling Seasonal Stress in Attention magazine for more on creating a happier holiday season.

This article appeared in ADHD Weekly on November 23, 2017.

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