Family Relationships during the Holiday's



Family Relationships during the Holiday's

November 21, 2022

Holiday season brings more time with loved ones, exciting events and sometimes unfortunately, additional stressors. Whether time crunches, family feuds, travel, work and school schedules or money are the source of additional stress, what should be an enjoyable time can become a toll on your health. Make the most of the holiday season with fun, delicious meals and break from the routine with some steps to removing the excess and make the most of the holidays.

  • Prioritize yourself, a good mood and attitude will trickle down to the rest of the family.
  • Accept regularities, you can count on the same challenges you faced last year will likely resurface.
  • Make a plan, overpreparing is the best way to manage expectations for the holidays.
  • If money is a concern, cut down on cards and gifts. Maybe the best gift you can give a friend is to let each other off the present-go-round.
  • Build relaxing time into every day and know when to give up and go to bed.

Let’s not forget about the kids! Kids and teens are very easily influenced, especially when access to a world of ideas is right in their fingertips, so setting expectations early on will make moments happier and smoother! Prepare your kids and teens by:

  • Keep a limit on gift giving and receiving when children are young.
  • Facilitate open communication, if you know you can’t buy them that pony or puppy, tell them.
  • Practice with them how to accept a gift graciously.
  • Help children manage their schoolwork over the holidays.
  • Discuss and negotiate rules.

Kids and teens of single parents, not only need preparation around the holidays, but reminders of the family and love they are surrounded by as they tend to easily compare themselves to friends who may have more traditional family settings. Celebrating traditional holidays is certainly a classic way to reinforce a sense of family, but this is also an opportunity to create your own new traditions.

Adding travel to the list of expectations for family to all be together can lead to feelings of guilt and pressure. Add to that the expense of traveling, the logistics of packing, potential bad weather, and lack of sleep, and you have a recipe for exhaustion. Try the following to avoid travel stress:

  • Accept that you can’t be everywhere. Many couples face the dilemma of whose family to visit. If possible, consider visiting one family for one holiday and the other family for another holiday each year.
  • Make travel plans well in advance, and let your family know of your plans. The sooner they know whether you are visiting, the easier it will be for them to adjust their expectations.
  • Pack ahead of time and allow extra time for traffic or long security lines at the airport. Pack snacks and make plans for keeping kids entertained.
  • Once you’ve arrived at your destination, don’t overdo it. Spending time with your family is more important than meeting everyone’s expectations.

Having agreements will avoid a lot of undue stress, and will prevent assumptions, expectations, and misunderstandings ahead of time. Family arguments still erupt over the holidays despite everyone’s wish for peace, love, and understanding. Try to let the little things go and focus on a relative’s good points. Also, learn to respect other people’s choices even if you disagree.

Remember, holidays are especially difficult for new relatives and stepfamilies. Be prepared to accept new traditions and let others fade away.