As the holidays approach this month, people in our counseling offices often express joy at seeing their loved ones and also have lots of questions about interacting with both their adult family of origin members and their adult children. ￼ Below are seven quick tips you can use to have positive conversations and enjoy your time together as well as protect yourself and others if things ￼take a turn for the negative. Look for me on Facebook as I discuss these ideas in-depth and answer any questions you have.
1) Come into gatherings well rested and with a positive mindset. When we are hungry, feeling insecure, or tired￼, emotional self regulation is a difficult task for our bodies and brains.
2) Be cautious about offering advice without being asked and if someone offers you some, thanks them and let them know you’ll consider their opinion. If a topic of disagreement won’t end, change the subject or leave the room.
3) If you are in a crowd and there is someone you are struggling with emotionally or relationally, try not to be alone one on one with them. Time and space are great ways to set boundaries. ￼
4) Come up with a couple of phrases in advance you can use that are both loving but set a firm line in the sand.
5) ￼ Avoid parenting your adult children as they return home. ￼ Even if you are having to watch them make decisions you don’t agree with, it is best to keep your mouth closed during the holiday season and choose another time and when they invite you into the conversation to speak your mind. ￼ You may need to remind internally yourself you are no longer responsible for their choices. Your parenting job is over. ￼
6) If you have teenagers or small children in your home, be realistic about your expectations about their behavior. This is not a time to work on their character development but instead to allow them to have the downtime they need as well. Allow for times when they can be alone in their rooms or have quiet time so they can reboot as well. ￼
7) If all else fails, take a nap. Hiding in your room and resetting your thoughts and emotions will only help a difficult situation. Sometimes a break gives a new perspective and let your brain settle and find a more logical response to a difficult situation. ￼
I’d love to hear from you! Send me a message through social media or email me if you have questions about a difficult holiday situation and I will try to answer them either in the comments below or on an Instastory or Facebook live in the near future. ￼