Keeping Family Conflicts from Ruining the Holidays

November is here and the holidays are approaching! The excitement of decorating the house, creating dinner menus and specialty drinks, and being surrounded by family members is there-until some of the realities hit us. As we get closer to when our adult children come home and the extended family gathers, we start to remember the difficulties of having everyone in the house. Your children seem to argue with one another over little things when they are together, you find yourself walking on egg shells to avoid a fight with your daughter and none of your siblings want to discuss the elephant in the room: are your aging parents okay living at home or do we need to consider alternatives. It’s exhausting!

Being with our children and family should not be this difficult. These are our most important relationships in life and throughout the years we should enjoy our families as they grow. To improve our family relationships we may want to examine the way in which we communicate with one another.

To begin with, try having honest conversations with each family member in advance of the holidays and discuss the ways we can avoid the arguments. Acknowledge trigger points and hot topics dto be avoided. Honest conversations mean you have to leave your anger, guilt and fear out of the conversation and show your family your loving and supportive intentions to create meaningful relationships and fun for the holidays. In addition, it is equally important to take ownership of behavior that may trigger anger from your loved ones and discuss the ways in which you can reframe your words to modify the message. Your children and family members love you and you love them. There is no reason you cannot engage in conversations without someone becoming explosive. But it takes time, planning and an understanding that words and the way we speak to one another have consequences. As parents and as hosts for this Holiday season, we may want to shake things up and try a different approach to achieve the Hallmark Thanksgiving dinner we all want to achieve.

Happy Holidays!

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