8 Tips On Surviving Your Dysfunctional Family During The Holidays
Is there a normal family left in America? I have reached the point where I am putting the “normal family” in my Sasquatch category – I’ve heard a lot about it but haven’t seen any documented visual evidence. Dysfunction has become an institutionalized aspect of our society.
Dysfunction is generally an inconvenience in our lives until the holidays arrive. We stress about the complexities of interacting with family and the drama and conflict that could result. So how do we properly manage the conflict and not only survive the holidays, but actually enjoy them.
Here are some things that have worked for me. By the way, when I do the opposite (which I have), well you can figure out the result.
- Prepare Or Repair - Determine in advance what subjects you will discuss. Try to determine in your mind how comments you view as completely innocent will be perceived by others. A phrase that has helped me is before I put someone in their place (which we don’t like to admit at parties but we would love to do), put myself in their place.
- Initial Hello - Greet every family member with a hug and “It’s great to see you!” You never have to recover from a good start.
- Interests – Talked about their interests. Ask them questions about their job, hobbies, children, etc… Everyone’s favorite subject is themselves.
- Children – Whatever issues exist, it is not the fault of your nephews, nieces, and grandchildren. Pour your life into them. If real dysfunction does exist, they will one day remember and seek out those who loved them unconditionally.
- Multi-Room Activity - It helps to have people in multiple rooms with a variety of activity going on. This provides a buffer and excellent “exit strategy” because you can say “Let me go check on the children.”
- Don’t Ruin A Good Time - Stay away from these type of phrases “I’ve only seen you three times in last year.” “I better enjoy this because it will be months before I see you again.” This will abort any positive momentum that may be occurring.
- Attractiveness - Rick Warren say “You can only win friends to Christ. You can’t reach your enemies.” This applies to your family as well. If you want to see positive change, that only happens when you are likeable.
- Value Over Lifestyle - You can appreciate the value of a person without approving of how they are living their lives and the decisions they are making. When it comes to value, Jesus valued your family enough that He died for them. Case closed on the value issue! If Jesus values them that much, so can I.
Leaders, why is this post important to you? Leadership begins at home. Excellent self-leadership is critical to having a positive holiday experience. Also, what is sobering is to remember that someone is possibly worried about how to survive you!
My prayer for everyone reading this post is that this will be the best, most fulfilling holiday season you have ever had.
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