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How to Deal With Family Conflict Over the Holidays

Getting together with family can be the biggest exercise of the year for our conflict resolution muscles. Enjoy your holiday time with family
family holiday conflict

Getting together with family can sometimes be the biggest exercise of the year for our conflict resolution muscles.

This season may even seem extra stressful based on the long duration of attempting to cope with the pandemic, change, loss, and fear. I was interviewed by a global expert on Highly Sensitive People (HSP’s), Karin Goldgruber of Next Step Coaching,  how to manage a few different popular scenarios to help people deal with family conflict that could surface over the holidays. 

Family Vaccination Opinions 

The negativity spread over these opposing views is about as toxic as the virus itself.  Here’s the jab – you’re not likely to change someone’s opposing opinion to yours, so what if you could inject yourself with the idea that people’s opinions aren’t right or wrong, they just are what they are.  The real question and productive conversation might be “How might we have a safe family gathering?  You’d be surprised at the options that could result from a good brainstorming session on how to gather safely despite the circumstances.   

Getting Teased or Criticized 

Do you have a family member that likes to get your goat?  Being teased could merely be someone’s admiration and level of comfort with your awesomeness, or at worst, be pushing the border of verbal abuse.  If you’re triggered, you have a trigger, and that is your work to understand.  Talking to the person who is setting you off is far more productive than talking to others about their behaviour.  Simple, but not easy.  Make this the year you give yourself the gift of an honest and assertive voice to speak up to the people that are affecting you. 

Dietary Restrictions 

With a buffet of preferences, restrictions and allergies, there’s little on the traditional table that suits everyone.  If you won’t eat what’s being served during a visit, bring what you need to feed yourself or your family.  It’s not the hosts responsibility to cater to a long list of likes and dislikes.  Gathering is about the conversations and connections that bond us together.  Don’t make what people are or are not eating an indigestible topic of concern.   

Holiday memories are made from the fun that we have when we gather.  Set an intention for peace, and be mindful of the potential snag that could escalate conflict, and how you might avoid these common pitfalls this season. 

family holiday time

Wishing you and your families a very safe and happy holiday season.

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