More Parents Asking For Help

15 December 2011, 05:00

Heart's found out more parents are calling a national charity to help deal with stress in the run up to Christmas.

Parentline say they've had more than 1,300 calls in the Thames Valley alone in the last year.

They offer advice and help to families in times of stress and difficulty.

The majority of calls in Berkshire and Oxfordshire relate to adult mental health.

They've given Heart their top tips for enjoying a family Christmas:

  • Get together and write a list of what everyone wants to do. With older children discuss family time and time with friends so you get a happy balance.
  • Set a realistic budget for presents, food, and other things and try to keep to this as best you can.   
  • If a child wants something that is beyond the budget, speak to them and explain as best you can why they cannot have it.  
  • Make a list of who needs to see who – particularly important blended families.
  • If you are separated and unfortunately not able to spend Xmas with your children, then perhaps arrange to have your own special Christmas Day when they return.  It may be a difficult day without your children and perhaps you can arrange to meet with friends instead.  
  • If this is your first Christmas as a stepfamily your child may feel confused and maybe even angry – try to allocate some time that you can spend alone together to reassure them.
  • Don’t try and do everything yourself - make a list of jobs which need to be done and allocate them between family or other guests that are invited.  
  • Don’t try and keep everyone happy all the time, maybe schedule in some time to recharge your own batteries - if you’re well rested you’ll be able to enjoy it more.
  • If things get heated between family members and everything gets too much remove yourself from the situation and perhaps call a friend or relative.  
  • Plan a family treat to avoid that deflated feeling after the holiday season – so you have something to look forward to.