Everyone looks forward to Halloween-kids and parents alike! It's all about dressing up and candy-what could be bad! But, there is one, small part of Halloween that has always bothered me...the 'trick' part. For older kids and teens, the interpretation of 'tricking' can turn into egging cars, toilet-papering neighbors' homes and sometimes even more serious behaviour.
Younger kids typically don't focus on the 'trick' part, but they know it exists and I often hear them talking about how they might 'trick' a neighbor that didn't give a good enough treat or didn't open the door for trick or treaters.
You might be thinking that I am just being negative, but the truth is that the 'trick' part of Halloween can teach your child that when you don't get exactly what you want, it's okay to be angry or upset and to retaliate in a way that may be hurtful. It's time to shift this way of thinking, not only about Halloween, but any time that life doesn't go exactly as your child would like it to go.
So, how can Halloween help us teach kids to appreciate what they do get, to tolerate not always getting exactly what they want, and, especially, to not become angry or vindictive with someone for not giving them what they want? I have four ideas that you can try this Halloween...and keep using them all year long!
Remember that the goal is to teach your child to be satisfied with, and appreciative of what she has, to not demand more and to appreciate others, not resent them, if they don't meet her desires immediately-or ever. Happy Halloween!
Dr. Susan Bartell is America's #1 Family Psychologist. Her latest book is The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask. You can learn more about her at drsusanbartell.com
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