Sibling rivalry revs up during the holidays. As long as there are holidays, brothers and sisters, dysfunction lives, at least in most families. Parents want to bring us together, but they know holiday celebrations can tear them apart. So, for the sake of mom and dad, follow these suggestions and find harmony and peace even if it’s for one day. You’ll be glad you did.
Here are six ways to reduce family fighting over the holidays:
Keep in mind the reason for the gathering
Remember why the family celebrates together. Parents may worry more than you think about the family members that don’t get along. The pressures are intense. Each person has doubts about their budget and what to give. However, a few members will be suspicious whether they can hold the tongue and not bicker. If this is you, think about why the holidays are important and put your parents first. Take time out and be grateful for your blessings.
Have patience and acceptance
It’s the nature of humans to believe they are right. If your sister brings her second husband and his children, keep opinions off-limits. And if your brother brings his fourth wife and his second wife and her mother, try to practice patience and acceptance. Now is not the time to debate who should and should not attend the family function. No matter the issue put it aside. Remember, the home is where the heart is and declare it to be drama free.
Call a ceasefire
Even before the holiday function, take precautions to lessen the struggle. Consider and be mindful of the problems shared with others. Write down the issues that always take the limelight. Come up with a few strategies that could solve the issues. If possible, reach out to the person in conflict and make a truce for the day. It won’t be comfortable, but it will be well worth the effort.
Get people to see the humor and laugh
If friction causes tears and yelling, be calm and don’t panic. Remember that laughing is the best medicine. Think of ways to get each to smile. It could be a funny memory from the past, or something that happened just recently. You know the kind. Humor always defuses tension.
Drink alcohol in moderation or don’t serve it
Alcohol can ignite anger and frustration so be very careful how much each person drinks. You’ve been around long enough to know that brew and wine can ignite bad feelings and loose tongues. Firewater causes people to lower inhibitions and control. It would be smart to eliminate alcohol altogether.
Embrace the big picture
Remember mom and dad? For today, they are the big picture. Think how lucky the family is to have a mom and dad that are capable of hosting or attending the celebration. So many people are orphans because they’ve lost their parents. Did you know that 28% of the people over 65 are alone, and many of them live without much food? Think about that statistic when the family gathers at the dining table. Plus, many families are displaced and living hundreds of miles apart. So, if possible, be thankful.