December 17, 1999 Issue 6
The NPC News Bulletin is brought to you by the National Parent Consortium (NPC), a project of the National Parent Network on Disabilities. Each issue of the NPC News Bulletin features a different theme and highlights Consortium activities and related maternal and child health, as well as other health-related information for families. This issue focuses on tips for parents around the holidays.

We invite you to visit the National Parent Consortium website to learn more about who we are and what we do at

From Our Hearts And Homes To Yours....
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The Staff of NPND would like to extend to each and every one of you our wish for a holiday season filled with family, friends, love, joy, peace and hope. We will be spending time with family and friends, but will join you again next year!

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The Holiday Season is full of occasions for stress, frustration, and anger, perhaps especially for parents of children with disabilities. But we parents deserve a Happy Holiday as much as anyone else does. How can parents, and especially moms, have a happy holiday season and not let shopping, cleaning, decorating, cooking, and entertaining wear you out, drive you frantic, and spoil everything you mean to do?

Here are some tips that have helped us here at NPND:

* Holiday memories and hopes bring pent-up emotions to the surface -- don't be afraid to share them with your children, spouse, and friends, because talking about them can reduce pain and increase joy

* Can we create a perfect house, perfect meal, perfect gifts, and a perfect Holiday experience? NO. And trying to make everything perfect is a recipe for disappointment. Relax a little.

* Remember that all the decorations, gifts, and other things are for the people in your life, including you, and not the other way around; if parents make everybody else mad to get the house "just so", they probably won't enjoy it much after all is said and done.

* We all know we can make our kids feel better by feeding them, but let's not medicate ourselves with unhealthy foods, drinks, and especially not drugs -- all those too quickly lead to depression, obesity, and dependence.

* Celebrations of the holidays don't just happen; we make them happen and we can decide to be in control of ourselves and in control of our celebrations.

* The airlines tell us to put on our own oxygen mask before helping our kids with theirs; let's take care of ourselves spiritually, emotionally, and nutritionally so we can be there for ourselves and for others.

* Planning a holiday season that is a little calmer and a little smaller can mean a happier Holiday for all, and can even make room for some pretty BIG spiritual values to enrich our family life.