As we approach a time of gift giving and receiving its important to understand the different ways in which children react to “receiving presents”. For some, there is genuine excitement, comfort, and gratitude. For others, there is disappointment over unmet expectations and “not getting what I really wanted”. Some children become over stimulated by the gifting process, and will actually misbehave at a time when we would expect them to be thankful, appreciative, and on their best behavior. In some cases there are sibling and peer jealousies over the “better” gift received by someone else. On the other side, there are the feelings of the gift-givers; the parents. Ideally, we hope our children would be appreciative of any gift and thankful to receive, showing love and joy in their smiling and happy faces. After all, aren’t parent gifts always driven by a sense of love and willingness? In the eyes of many children and parents, gifts during holiday time are “expected” obligations driven by some combination of culture, religion, and social pressures. Choosing the right gift, getting enough gifts, making sure it’s something they really want, and in general devoting a huge amount of time and effort to the process of gifting are frequently part of the “parent dialogue”. It’s no wonder that the reaction of the receiver becomes so notable. In past articles I’ve frequently discussed the importance of parent neutrality and preparation in the management of child behavior. This time of year is no different. Remember the past as a predictor of the future; then develop a parenting approach that hopefully leads in the direction of your values, beliefs, and expectations.