This holiday season may evoke a complicated set of emotions for many families. How does one account for the sadness and fear that many are feeling during the COVID-19 pandemic—while also celebrating those moments with family that should never be taken for granted?

“There’s a lot of loss right now,” says Laurie Kramer, a Northeastern professor of applied psychology who studies child and family dynamics. “There may be a loss of people—your family members who have been affected by COVID-19. And just the loss of normalcy, and the loss of family traditions in some of the simple things that kids have come to love as part of the holiday season.

“It’s important for parents to be real and honest with their children, to acknowledge some of those losses and limitations that they’re experiencing this year,” says Kramer, who also serves as director of the University Honors Program. “And to allow some space for kids to be disappointed and frustrated, and maybe even a little angry about some of those sorts of things. Because it’s important for kids to have an opportunity to express those negative feelings.”


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