How to enjoy a family gathering without all the family drama, anger issues, and conflict // Episode 54

What are we talking about today?

There is something about the holidays that can bring up old baggage, hard emotions… all the family holiday drama. 

As you approach the holidays, or any other big family gathering, are you starting to feel stressed or worried about what’s going to come out?

As a family counselor, I have heard many stories about the hurt and pain that can occur at family gatherings. Long-term damage can occur. Every family has certain hot-button topics or unresolved issues.

That’s why today, as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m outlining 7 practical tips for how to avoid family drama (or resolve conflict as it starts) to help you enjoy the holidays, have a fun family gathering, and find peace as you plan for these special events. 

Let’s dive in.

Listen to Episode 54:

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Snag your resources here!

If today’s topic is meaningful to you, you’ll also want to check out these earlier podcast episodes that connect with this same topic:

  • Episode 21 // Ignore Pinterest! 7 simple ways to celebrate the people you love… without spending a lot of money, fuss, or time
  • Episode 43 // Stop fighting! My 10-step checklist for conflict resolution in your marriage and beyond.
  • Episode 23 // Why we all need intimacy in our family relationships – and how to get there!

Let me also offer a FREE resource that I know will be helpful:

Despite our best efforts, conflict sometimes happens. So go into your holiday gathering with a plan in place for how to handle it well. Grab a copy of my FREE 10-Point Conflict Resolution Checklist

Avoid family holiday drama with these tips

[This post may contain affiliate links. If a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.] 

Today's Episode Highlights

We all want the holiday season to be peaceful, joyful, and meaningful. Yet when the family gets together, and the stressors of the season start to wear us down, we sometimes find a lot of family drama beginning. 

There are many reasons for this. But today, we want to look at the more practical side… what can we do to avoid the drama, or handle it if it pops up?

7 tips for your family gathering

In the full podcast episode, I go into more detail about each of these tips. But let’s take a look at what will help your family this year:

  1. Focus on listening more than talking. 
  2. Keep your expectations realistic… the holiday photos won’t be perfect, the turkey might be dry, and that’s all okay.
  3. Be prepared to handle your own emotions… to take a deep breath, count to 10, and bite your tongue. You can’t control other people, but you can control yourself.
  4. Similarly, be ready and willing to take a break if you need to calm down or get some alone time. This can help reduce tension and conflict for everyone. 
  5. Make sure to share gratitude and compliments out loud! Insert comments of peace and joy, even if no one else is doing the same. 
  6. You may be able to plan ahead for hot-button topics or unresolved family drama. Plan for how you will respond when someone asks a hurtful question. Recruit a like-minded family member so that you can work together to avoid pain and trouble.
  7. Pray! Pray before the gathering, during the gathering, and after the gathering. Never underestimate the peace that God can bring to difficult situations.

What if conflict does come up?

Well, you can only control yourself. How do you handle hard emotions, if you’re the one getting upset? How might you be able to help your husband, child, parent, or sibling if they are getting upset? 

You can think these things through in advance, to at least have a game plan for what to do.

If you think conflict is likely to happen, grab a free copy of my 10-Point Conflict Resolution Checklist.You can pull it out and walk through the steps to restore peace with your family.

Friday Faith Follow-up

In this bonus episode to follow-up on the topic family holiday drama, anger, and conflict, we look at 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 to better understand how to resolve hurt or pain that might be caused at our holiday gathering.

We need to address the sin, forgive and comfort, reaffirm our love, and forgive. This isn’t easy! Listen to this short episode for encouragement in each of these areas. 

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A reminder of the Disclaimers & Disclosures Policy: I am an affiliate with many of the resources I recommend, which means I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through my provided links. I never recommend products I don’t love! Also, I am a licensed therapist but this podcast is not therapy. It is not professional or personal advice to your specific situation. Get info about professional counseling here.

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