How To Deal With The Family Drama During The Holidays
So Christmas is a few days away and I am sure the drama in your family started in August. While drama in your family may be the norm, there are a lot of families that are dealing with a whole new type of drama caused by Covid.
As of December of 2021 there are 7.9 Billion people in this world. Yes BILLION. Every single one of those people have different thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.
While we do not have to worry about the beliefs of 7.9 Billion people, we do have to worry about the people in your family and how we can navigate the holidays with all the various beliefs about Covid while dealing with the normal drama family gatherings bring.
How can we do all this? Read on and I will give you 8 ways to deal with the normal and the abnormal drama when dealing with your family.
1) First forward this blog to all those in your family and ask them to read this. Why? Because to combat drama it is best that everyone in your family are on the same page and working towards the same goal.
2) Each member of the family can make a priority list. A list of what is the MOST important things about family get togethers for them personally. If you cannot get the family to participate then do this for yourself. This will help you stay focused on what is the most important thing for you during the holidays.
3) Remind yourself that everyone has different thoughts, feelings, and priorities as well as ways they deal with these thoughts, feelings, and priorities. Are there any priorities that are the same for you and your family? If so this is a common ground to work on. Focus on that.
4) Set boundaries with family members early, before everyone shows up. This will help everyone know that the goal is to reduce drama. Set boundaries such as no negative comments, no talking about the triggering topics like politics and no shaming anyone about their personal decisions or beliefs.
5) Remind yourself to respect everyone's beliefs and that they were formed behind a different set of lenses than yours. Your experiences are unique to you and their's are unique to them. These unique experiences shape how we see the world, form opinions, and how we form our belief system. It's ok to have different beliefs but it is not okay to make someone feel bad about them just because you do not agree.
6) When it comes to masked or vaccinated then the host needs to set the rules for the gathering and share those rules with the rest of the family. But please be respectful of other's beliefs and try to accomadate everyone. For example maybe mom believes in wearing a mask and aunt Sue does not. Can mom wear the mask during the entire gathering and maybe aunt Sue wears it only when around mom but removes it around others that do not wear masks? This is a good way to compromise on varying beliefs. Can some members join the group via video call if beliefs keep them away? You can place a video call on a large screen tv and interact as if they were in the same room.
7) Ask yourself how do YOU contribute to the drama. We often look at the rest of the family and never at ourselves when it comes to conflict. No matter what the contribution is, everyone contributes to drama even if it is you just nodding your head and not speaking up.
8) Work on YOUR empathy. Remind yourself that everyone in this world, 7.9 billion people, are just trying to make it through this life the best way they know how. This is not to excuse bad or rude behavior but to remove your personal feelings from the situation and remind yourself that all of our goals are to make it through this life. THAT we all have in common!
Sometimes even with doing all the above the drama is still going to happen. The only person you can control is you. At this point then it is up to you to decide what your personal boundaries are and remove yourself from the situation when those boundaries are crossed. Make a plan with your partner and children before you leave the house to go to your gathering about what will trigger you to leave. This way you are on the same page.
After the holidays if you have any family members that are willing to go to counseling then you can start working on the drama before the next holiday approaches. We often see parents with their adult children and grandchildren in sessions together so everyone has the unbiased experience of the therapist. Sometime learning new skills to talk to each other is all it takes!
Have a blessed and balanced day!
Melissa Smith is an LMFT in the state of Kentucky. To find out more about her click here.
Live. Life. Balanced is a blog written by a licensed marriage and family therapist.
For more information about counseling go to LifeInMotionKentucky.com
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