The holidays can be a time of great fun and family bonding. However, they can also bring stress and sadness to families that have recently lost a loved one or to those who are fighting. As Easter approaches, I want to talk about how to avoid fights with family members in order to make sure that everyone has a pleasant holiday. Family altercations can, in some cases, lead to trips to the hospital or a visit to the house from a police officer. To avoid these negative scenarios, follow these tips for handling family altercations over Easter.
Causes of Holiday Stress
The holidays can be a stressful time. Here are some common causes of family altercations during this time:
- Return of childhood memories. For many, remembering childhood holidays and family gatherings is a pleasant experience. However, for some, memories of the past are not so happy. If you associate the holidays with a bad experience, you will become stressed about the coming holiday, which can cause tension and anger.
- Thinking about what’s different. Families change over time, sometimes it’s heartbreaking to accept, but it’s true. Relatives pass away, couples get divorced, siblings become estranged. Thinking about all of this negative change can make the holidays a difficult experience to get through.
- Relatives you don’t get along with. It’s easy to avoid a particular relative that you don’t like throughout the year, but during the holidays you might have to see this person. Maybe they constantly insult you, attack the choices that you’ve made, don’t help you prepare for the holidays, etc. A blowout fight might occur if you have to see this person.
Avoiding Family Altercations
Here are some ways that you can try to avoid a fight (whether physical or emotional) during the holidays:
- Prepare yourself for difficult scenarios. You know what to expect from your family. Try to imagine how you should react to certain situations to diffuse them instead of causing a fight.
- Accept your family for who they are. Stop worrying about how your family should be. Accept them for who they are. No family is perfect, but during the holidays, we tend to expect miracles. Instead, try your best to make the most of what you have. Focus on the good things about your family and what you do have instead of what you don’t have.
- Make your expectations clear. If you’re hosting a party, make it clear that any form of fighting or passive aggression will not be tolerated in your home. If you are visiting family, make it clear that you will leave the party if people cannot get along.
- Compromise with your family. Your family might have certain expectations of what you will do. For example, if you’re visiting your parents, they might want you to stay for a week. Instead, agree to stay for the weekend. Or, if you’re expected to go to a relative’s house that you really don’t want to go to, agree to stay for dinner but say that you have to leave right after dessert. Taking your family in small doses can prevent tension from building.
We all want perfect families, but every family has its fair share of problems. However, if you and your family can make an effort not to fight, you might be surprised at how much fun you have. If a physical altercation does take place, find an attorney to help.