The summer holidays are in full swing. Many families are already away while others are planning their holidays with loved ones. This is the time when children get to spend time with grandparents, aunts, uncles and extended family. You either have them visiting or you pack your bags and go “home”.

As adults, you follow many dynamics in your relationships with other adults, sometimes clouded by experiences and interactions. However, children are unaware and not a party to all your past. You could use this opportunity to unpack and lighten your load or burden yourself with the negative baggage and drag your relationships further into a swamp.

I have been coaching a young teenager whose mother came to me sobbing asking me to help her son who had stopped communicating with her. As we progressed, it became clear to me that the mother’s issues with various family members “back home” was causing her to be in a continuous state of stress and anxiety.

Her negativity reached such a head that she landed herself in hospital with a panic attack and unexplained symptoms. Despite my pointing it out to her, she refused to acknowledge her negative state and declared war on several family members whom she was planning to visit during the summer holidays.

Her teen son unfortunately had to bear the brunt of his mother’s unresolved issues and created walls around himself to protect himself from her moodiness and unpredictable temperament. If as parents you have your own issues to resolve, it becomes difficult to not allow them to impact you in every sphere of your life and sometimes your innocent children get caught up too.

As a parent you need to be physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually whole. If you are suffering emotionally, holding resentment and negativity, you are not there for your child entirely. Your negativity will impact your parenting, just as it impacted this mother who lived in denial.

Before you seek help for your child, his behaviour, his issues and poor communication, look within and check whether he is reacting to your parenting; whether it is you who needs to unpack and resolve negative issues.

So use the holidays to heal yourself for your sake and for the sake of your children.


This is an interactive column on parenting skills and child behaviour. If you have a query, write to

— Sunaina Vohra is a certified Youth and Family Life Coach at Athena Life Coaching in Dubai. For more information log on to or call (+971) 56-1399033.