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Dear Wendy

Santa problems

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  • This topic has 18 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by avatardirtorsoil.
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  • #865700 Reply

    Any advice on how to deal with taking my daughter to see santa? My ex wife was supposed to take her this week but she said she can’t now due to work schedule changes.

    I have PTSD and depression, and try to avoid going out in crowds expecially with my daughter. It usually starts with panic attacks then I start seeing weapons on people and ieds around the place. I start thinking people are going to hurt my daughter and get rather aggressive. I try and do the exercises they taught me in counseling to bring myself under control with limited results. I usually end up in a physical altercation with someone in front of my daughter. That is exactly why I tend to isolate myself because I don’t want her to see Dad fighting with random people when we go out.

    I do ok with smaller groups of people as long as no one toucher her. The only Santa I have found locally is at the mall, a place I avoid. There always seems to be a ton of people there and I know it will end up poorly if they start bumping in to her. I have some antianxiety pills I take before going out but they don’t always work.

    I just don’t know how I can give her what she wants without Turning it into a ugly scene. Any advice on how to make this work?

    #865705 Reply

    No. Don’t take her to see Santa if that stuff is likely to happen. Your ex needs to take her, sometime between now and Christmas Eve. Just work out a time for that to happen. Or for a trusted mutual friend or relative to do it while you stay in the car.

    #865716 Reply

    It’s not the end of the world if your daughter doesn’t visit santa this year. I didn’t take my kids last year & probably won’t this year. Santa isn’t a big deal in my home though. My 19 year old was devastated when he found out santa wasn’t real so I haven’t hyped him much to my younger kids. Is there a light display you can drive her through? There’s several where I live. You’re alone in your car & at the end you have the option of getting out to see santa. Churches (near me anyway) usually have a breakfast with santa. Much smaller crowds than the mall & you don’t have to be a member. Merry Christmas

    #865723 Reply

    Yeah, you ABSOLUTELY should not risk having a ptsd episode. Your kid will survive if she doesn’t visit Santa at the mall. If your wife or a friend/relative you trust can’t take her, you can find some other kind of Christmas activity to do with her.

    #865724 Reply

    “My 19 year old was devastated when he found out santa wasn’t real so I haven’t hyped him much to my younger kids.*

    I known what you meant by this, Helen, but it still cracked me up reading it.

    #865735 Reply

    Are you still in counseling? There’s no question that you cannot take her. If the options are only that she doesn’t see him or you run the risk of assaulting a stranger and ending up in jail…no, you shouldn’t take her. Do you have fiends or other family nearby that can take her? Does your ex?

    #865738 Reply

    Got any buddies who would enjoy dressing up as Santa and making a house call? I also love the light show idea.

    Missing the mall Santa experience this year will not affect her negatively at all… but growing up seeing her dad having panic attacks and fighting strangers sure will be harmful to her long-term mental health. Focus on giving her a safe, stable environment at all times. All the other fun stuff is nice, but not necessary. Don’t let anyone guilt you into taking risks that would compromise her sense of stability. You sound like a caring father – much more important than Santa!

    #865745 Reply

    I am still in counseling, I go to the VA hospital psychiatrist every two weeks. I don’t promise my daughter to do things like seeing Santa because for me avoiding places that are likely to set off an anxiety attack is something I think about a lot before we go out. The whole Santa visit was something her mom has been talking to her about for the past few weeks and my daughter is really looking forward to going. She’s 4 years old and I really hate to disappoint her. My closest family lives a couple hours drive away, but we’re not very close. Maybe I can ask my sister if we could visit when she takes her kids?

    I do take her to see the lights, they have a couple blocks that are all lit up and you drive through in your car. Costs a little but no worry about attacks. I make her a hot chocolate and she seems to really enjoy it. We have that planned for this Saturday.

    I wish I had a friend who could come over dressed as Santa for her. I don’t actually know anyone or have friends. When I do go out of the house I have exactly where I am going and what I am doing there planned out. Ie grocery store pick up milk. I stay on mission and don’t deviate to interact with people as it can lead to problems. I guess it is not very conductive to meeting new friends but it lets me manage risk for the most part.

    I will call my sister and see if she is up for taking my daughter to the mall in Dallas when she takes her kids. I think that may be the way to go.

    Thanks for the advice, I don’t think of other options very often.

    #865746 Reply

    Yeah, your sister sounds like the best option, though really I think this is Mom’s responsibility because she talked it up.

    Maybe for next year: we took our new puppy to a Santa Paws thing last weekend. We got there right when it started and there were no crowds. I saw the pics afterward on the website and people had their kids in the pics too. If you and your daughter like animals, you could search for that event in your area. It’s for charity for an animal shelter.

    #865748 Reply

    Maybe you could look up some santa events and call or email them and ask if they’d be willing to let you and your daughter in before or after with low or minimal crowds? Explain your situation. People like to help other people. There might be events at places other than a mall. Like churches, community centers, libraries in your area.

    #865761 Reply

    If mom talked up a Santa visit then that should be a mom thing. She shouldn’t talk it up and then dump it on you. You should be able to tell your daughter that mom will take her to see Santa and you will take her to see lights.

    Our library and our local community theater have Santa visits. People like them because we don’t have the crowds that you get at the mall. Both also have hot chocolate and cookies and some kind of craft for the kids.

    I live in a community that has a high rate of PTSD. After years of trying other things many people have found that EMDR works for them in a way that years of psychotherapy hasn’t worked.

    #865919 Reply
    Dear WendyDear Wendy

    Don’t take your daughter to see Santa! Honestly, if no one else can take her and she doesn’t go see Santa at all, it’s fine. My daughter (4 1/2) has never gone and she’s fine. I only took my son once and it was a nightmare. He has sensory processing issues – and, frankly, I think I do too — and it was really unpleasant the one time I took him when he was 3 or 4 (before his diagnosis and before we understood some of his challenges). SO not worth the photo app. We find lots of other ways to celebrate the holidays and make traditions and memories that don’t burn out anyone in the family or challenge our mental health. I urge you to do the same and don’t feel even the teensiest bit guilty about it. Taking care of yourself is the first step in taking care of your daughter.

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