Nightmares Before Christmas: Avoiding Holiday Tantrums

Ungrateful for Gifts

Your child tears through the presents her relatives give her, tossing them aside or yelling, "I didn't want this!"

Prevention pointers: Tell your child ahead of time that she doesn't have to love every gift -- but she should always say thank you, says Dr. Panaccione. You might say, "It's okay to like some presents more than others. But it's still nice of everyone to give you something, so you should be nice too and thank them."

Fast fix: Try to grin and bear your child's disses -- most people understand that kids aren't known for their tact. Prompt your child to say thank you ("What do you say to Aunt Barbara?"), but don't push it if she won't. "We tell kids they should never lie, so a situation like this confuses them," says Dr. Huff. "They don't understand the subtle difference between telling the truth and telling a white lie to spare someone's feelings." You can always smooth things over by apologizing to your relative later and thanking her for the nice gift.

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