Coping with Grief and Loss During the Holidays

Date: 06/30/2023

Title: Getting through the holidays with grief

00:00:01 Speaker 1
How does your family cope with death and loss, especially when it disrupts your Christmas family
traditions? Well, let's talk about that today on Tips on teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm
a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I specialize in helping kids, teens, and families
live happier lives. I lead two organizations, teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501 organization
Child and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon,
I jump onto Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions. Let's answer today's. This is
going to be my kids very first holiday without their grandparents. My parents were the glue
that held us together during the holidays. I'm not too close with my siblings and we decided
not to do Christmas together, so it'll just be us. My kids are understandably sad because they
won't see their cousins and they miss their grandma. What can I do to help us get through it? Thank
you for your question. And first want to acknowledge

00:01:05 Speaker 1
the loss that your family is going through. My heart goes out to you and your kids. I think a lot
of families can relate to this situation. A lot of families go through this and there's a lot
to unpack here. There's going to be a new tradition. I think this gives you an opportunity to
have a new tradition, not by ignoring the loss of the grandparents, but by embracing that. I
know that sounds kind of weird because I don't want Christmas to be sad, but it's going to be sad
anyway. Let's allow sadness to be there because if we allow the sadness to be there and don't
pretend it's not there, then it opens up happiness as well. I think you can totally honor your
grandparents, even if it's just the small group of you without the cousins, without the aunt
and uncles. Do you have ornaments in the Christmas tree that honor your grandparents or their
grandparents where there are family traditions? Maybe grandma made a bunch of cookies and
use her recipe, make those cookies go through the Iphoto and

00:02:04 Speaker 1
look at all the old photos and laugh about the memories that help you honor your grandparents
and the times that you spent together. I think that's a way to incorporate their grandparents
into the holiday tradition and to create new traditions. They may feel like they are missing
their aunts and uncles and cousins. I understand you and your siblings are not that close, and
if that's what you decided, that's fine. It's not the end of the world. I think it's important
to make sure that you guys are finding time without phones. Everyone's got to put their phone
away and just be together as a family. Put the video games away unless you're all playing together
on the switch or whatever that is. But look to board games, cooking together, going for walks,
having special occasions, doing something that's special, that's meaningful for your family
helps you guys connect and bond. Again, this is not the time to talk about the dirty socks stron
about the house. That's a conversation for another day.

00:03:02 Speaker 1
If this is the one day you celebrate the family, just focus on having fun and you're going to have
to let a few things slide. They're going to make a mess. They're going to not put their toys away.
It's okay for just this one day. What if the house was just a little bit messy and you eyes all disconnected
and had fun? Maybe that creates an opportunity for that to keep going and keep going and the focus
is less on following the rules and more about having fun together. One other thing you can do,
I think a lot of people did this over the Pandemic is if you're not going to be with your cousins
or the aunts and uncles for this holiday, what if you all, everyone agrees to set up a computer
and go to FaceTime or Zoom or Skype or whatever online you want to use? And everyone has chimed
in, it's this open there for a couple of hours and people go over the screen and talk when they
want to talk and go away when they want to go away, just like if you had a big family gathering.
So I think it's possible

00:04:02 Speaker 1
to incorporate the cousins in even if they're not running around the house, at least they can
see each other through an online platform. Again, this is not easy, but I do think it creates
an opportunity for more connection, more bonding and healing by honoring the loss and not ignoring
the loss. Anyways, that's our question today for tips on teens, my name is Kent Toussaint with
Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling. If you'd like me to answer your question
here on Tips on teens, email us at tips on Thank you so much.
I'll see you next Wednesday. And have a good week, guys. Bye.

Most families will be coping with grief and loss during the holidays at some point. It’s the cycle of life. Is your family mourning loved ones? Is your family adapting to a change in its holiday routine? The best way through it may be by making new holiday traditions.

Embracing loss rather than ignoring it is key. Honor your loved ones by carrying on some of their holiday rituals. Look at pictures, delve into the memories. By allowing the sadness to be there, you’re opening up emotionally to happiness as well.

There’s more to say about coping with grief and loss during the holidays, and we explore the topic in this Tips on Teens:

“This is going to be my kids’ very first holiday without their grandparents. My parents were the glue that held us together during the holidays. I’m not too close with my siblings and we’ve decided not to do Christmas together, so it’ll just be us. My kids are understandably sad because they won’t see their cousins and they miss their Grandma. What can I do to help us get through it?”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.