Putting family squabbles into perspective – Hayley Matthews

We should count our blessings, not fight to secure the alpha position in the family, writes Hayley Matthews.

Saturday, 28th December 2019, 6:00 am
Kids can get upset at this time of year. Picture: Getty

I don’t know if it’s just been the sheer excitement of having a birthday a few days before the big bearded man in red and white arrived or if it’s an age thing but Harris, my eight-year-old, just about self-combusts when I look at him the wrong way.

I put some of it down maybe to testosterone and the rest to a mix of tiredness and excitement but it would be good to know I’m not the only one out there screaming at their kids to calm down and stop being cheeky. We had so many fall-outs in the run-up to Christmas that I was almost ready to book myself a solo trip to the loony bin!

We had a nice treat booked for Christmas Day and not being too extravagant we went out for lunch because we haven’t really had a break or decent holiday in a long time.

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As Harris and I sat squabbling at the table over who was right and who was wrong, I stopped and asked him to look out the window with me.

I asked him to imagine being the amputee we saw across the road who knelt on the street in the rain holding a cup for pennies, and all on Christmas day.

I told him: “Aren’t we very blessed and lucky and shouldn’t we be grateful instead of arguing about absolutely nothing?” He started to get tearful. I told him my intention wasn’t to upset him but to make him realise that we have many blessings and to be grateful, so let’s enjoy each other’s company instead of fighting for the alpha place and just be at peace.

It’s a life lesson I try to instil and I hope my words will sink in soon.

I know it’s Christmas but I believe lessons on kindness and appreciation are for every time of year, not just Christmas.