The holiday season can be the most wonderful time of the year… but more often than not, it can be stressful: it can be the most chaotic and dramatic time of the year! Often, with the holidays comes some old school drama like siblings bringing up old stuff, adult teasing, gossip, rumors, and possibly some family bullying. Sometimes, we turn into our childhood selves and it is not the way to put our best foot forward. We might hide behind a brave face, stuff our emotions with food, or drink some velvety wine to drown our frustrations. During Thanksgiving, you can be less grateful to be around family and that does not make you feel so great. So here are some ways to prevent and eliminate some stress and drama during the holiday break:
- When teasing or sibling bullying starts, stand up for yourself and say something. Do it with kindness, empathy, and an open mind to change a behavior without calling them out. But if needed, call them out! There are ways to do so, with confidence, unemotionally, and with kindness. If your siblings start picking on you, and it’s annoying, tell them to stop. You can say: “Seriously, are we reverting to childhood? You can go down that path, and when you are ready to talk to me like an adult I will be back.” or ” You know that hurts my feelings, it is not cool to tease me like that, I am not a kid anymore, and I won’t put up with that.” ” We don’t bully or tease in my house. My kids learned at school that when people bully they are hurt and do it for attention. I would not want them to think that we do this between us.”
- When drama and conflict start to escalate, use humor, deflection, or redirection to help diffuse the situation. Make a joke funny, not harmful. Share a funny video or post, ask an irrelevant question.
- Take a deep breath, count to ten, walk out of the room, go play with the kids, step away, jump on Instagram, or go call a friend to take a break. When it is too much, just step away. You don’t need to sit there and take it. Stand up, and walk out.
- Laugh it off and walk away. Say, “Good one, never heard that one before!”
- It the moment, zone them out, and start thinking about what you appreciate about them, why you are grateful for them. It helps to really to think about why you are grateful for them, to then listen to them, and remember through the process why you love them.
- Bribe yourself: (some people call it bribing, I call it INCENTIVES) Find something to treat yourself when you survive the holidays. Might be a message, a manicure, a block of time to yourself, or a guys or girls night out! Anything that you look forward too. It will help!
- Sometimes, by really listening, you can gain insight on where your family is coming from or even understand their perspectives. Over the years working with youth, we have found that the best way to stop the drama, is to stop waiting to talk and actually listen.
These are simple tricks that are a reminder to do some check-ins with yourself and do some self-care. Hopefully this sparks some ideas to help resolve the family drama!
Until Next Time,