A ten year old told me this week, ” I don’t really like Christmas, it’s good getting presents but there’s always lots of arguments and fights in our house”. For this child, the tensions between family members, coupled with too much alcohol and a history of unpredictable and often volatile relationships between the adults in his extended family can result in the festive period being anything but jolly. It’s important for all of us that work in schools to be aware of the children we work with who live in families like this and may have a different experience of Christmas and the holidays and remember that this can impact on their behaviour and ability to engage with school. As soon as the school start their Christmas activities this child becomes more challenging to staff and tries to control situations. For him, this is his way of trying to manage his feelings of anxiety about the looming break from school, which will probably be very difficult for him.
It can help to remind these children of events that will be happening when they return to school after the holiday as this may enable them to cope with the Christmas chaos more easily.