New York: Many families cherish being together over the holidays. But when children are affected by emotional and behavioral disorders, and parents are challenged to make ends meet, families may just want to make it to New Year’s Day without strife or a crisis.
That’s why the Bronx Family Mental Health Clinic is handing out cocoa and a Coping Skills Kit. They’re making a special effort to prepare the families they support for this year’s long, 11-day break from school.
The Clinic is serving hot chocolate to show parents that simple things, like enjoying a cup of cocoa together, sends a message that members of any family facing challenges can appreciate a moment together.
“Many of the parents we support live from day to day, and they don’t think about what they will do with their children during school break,” says Christina Soddano, LCSW, Senior Director for Strategic Health Initiatives at Rising Ground.
The Coping Skills kit will be given to both parents and teens to remind them of the tools they have gained at the Clinic to overcome emotional challenges, which often surface during the holidays. The kit contains:
A string, a reminder to hold it together;
An eraser, to not dwell on mistakes;
A piece of candy, to enjoy the sweeter things in life;
Stars, encouragement to look on the bright side;
A Band-Aid®, a reminder that wounds can be healed.
The underlying message is that you and your children should not expect to have a “perfect holiday,” but it can be a peaceful one. Says Soddano: “A perfect holiday is not going to happen. It doesn’t happen in any family because no family is perfect. But, what parents can and should do is make sure children feel needed and wanted and—most importantly—loved.”