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Over the Oceans and Through the Skies to Relatives’ Houses We Go

Texas Conflict Coach Audio Blog by Pattie Porter

It is the beginning of the holiday season and with it comes all the hustle and bustle. There are many elements to the season however, before we can even think about that nice dinner and presents under the tree the feeling of being overwhelmed can surely set in. It doesn’t matter how old we get or how many holidays we celebrate for some people; family members make our celebration less than enjoyable. There are many people who dread this time of the year. For them it is a time where their choices, spouses and children will be critiqued and criticized. As if the flight, train, bus or car ride wasn’t enough of a nightmare, now you have to endure several days with the family. It seems so often that family dynamics that have simmered for years will often rear up at the holidays and join us at the dining table or around the cozy fireplace. But why does this have to be the norm? Surely, the holidays can be a time of much love, food, fun and fellowship with one another without all the chaos!

For me the most difficult hurdle during the holidays is how to split my time among family members. I am originally from Barbados; therefore my holiday season begins with a very long plane ride. Once settled the fun begins. Given that I only see my relatives once a year deciding how to split my time between them always gives me a headache. However, I do my best to accommodate everyone. I may come back to US even more tired than I left however, being surrounded by my family members and all the madness is priceless.

That said every family is different and the challenges experienced during the holidays may be far more complex that what I have shared. For you folks here are some simply strategies.

1. Call a truce on unfinished business.

2. Approach time spent with difficult relatives with a new attitude or new approach.

3. Maintain a sense of humor.

4. Take care of yourself and say No…set boundaries with relatives

Read this article Easing Family Tension During the Holidays by UM CareLink – Faculty and Staff Assistance Program at the University of Washington.

Authored by Mia Brooms, Graduate Intern


Patricia Porter

Patricia "Pattie" Porter, LCSW, ACC, is the Founder and President of Conflict Connections, Inc. in San Antonio, TX. She provides workplace conflict resolution services including conflict management and abrasive behavior coaching, EEO and workplace mediation, change management and team facilitation, and training throughout the U.S. She is the Founder of… MORE >

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