Wednesday Wisdom

December 11, 2019

Family Time

By Dr Kathy Weston

Family Time


Bonding with our children, our partners and our families at Christmas time is a noble ambition, but is easier said than done.

What does it mean to ‘bond’? Really, we are talking about refreshing, rather than creating, attachments to those who are close to us. Bonding is about reminding each of us of what we value in one other, and how energised we can be when we are around those who know us best.

Bonding with our children is about time spent together, ‘hanging out’, ‘tuning in’ and being in relaxed, holiday mode, rather than weekday school mode. Making this shift is often the tricky bit.

Where you are a blended family, Christmas provides a perfect opportunity to build up that sense of family identity. New family traditions that you discuss and create together may be well received.


Last week, as part of my #GetaGrip podcast series, I interviewed the systemic family therapist, Dr Reenee Singh.

She told a touching story of a divorced couple and their child, who had to travel between the two over holiday periods. Dr Singh helped the parents understand the importance of “Teddy,” who had to accompany the child on every trip. Sometimes, it took time to remember Teddy and stress ensued if he was momentarily absent or lost. To that child, Teddy represented stability in the face of change.

Transitional anxiety can be experienced by children of all ages. Little objects, reminders from home and familiar things can help us to stay connected to those that we have love and have left behind. They also form part of our personal identity. So, the next time we tell our children that they don’t need to bring their large teddy or favourite item with them on a school trip, or night away from home, we might remember this.


Christmas can be tough if you are struggling financially, mentally or feeling hopeless or unhappy. Please remember that there is always someone to talk to.

That person wants you to call them and wants you to know that your feelings matter very much. Whether it is Christmas day or late at night, people give up their time to offer their support, so never feel afraid to call if you need a listening ear.

Call the Samaritans free on 116 123, or email them at

Have a great Christmas and a very happy New Year. Wednesday Wisdom will return in 2020.

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