Surviving Challenging Family Visits

During the holidays, visits with your family can be challenging.  Here are some tips to help you create positive family visits.

family visits

1.  Communicate your boundaries prior to getting together.
If your cousin is always late for dinner, let her know you expect her to be there by six.  If she’s not there on time, she’ll have to warm up her own plate.
If you put the boundaries in place prior to the event, your family members will be more likely to behave in a way that is acceptable to you.  How can they meet your expectations if they don’t know what your expectations are?
2.  Truly see what is good about them.
Come on, even your uncouth uncle makes you laugh sometimes.  If you can focus on the positive, the negative traits won’t bother you as much.
3.  Accept who they are.  We all have weaknesses, some are bigger some are smaller.
You may wish they were more responsible, more practical, or more business savvy.  The thing is, we can’t change others and by wanting them to be different, we are rejecting who they are.
4.  Compliment them at the beginning of the visit.
People with low self esteem get defensive and angry easily.  Complimenting your family members will build up their self esteem.  If you make your family members feel safe and valued, it will be easier for them to be positive throughout the event.
5.  Stop hoping that they will meet your needs. They can’t.
 You may need approval from your father, warmth from your mother, or friendship from your brother, but they may not be capable of giving it.  If you let go of these expectations, you won’t be disappointed and can receive what they do have to give.
6.  Think about who you need to be in order to create the visit you want to have with them.
This is the most powerful step.  To create the visit you want, you need to be nonjudgmental, relaxed, rested, accepting, and open to whatever comes.  In this state of mind, you are easy to be with, and that’s more than half the battle
Image Courtesy : Phil Scoville/

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