Its summer, it’s hot and you have a family occasion coming up. Whether it’s a wedding, a reunion, a trip or vacation, no matter how much you love your family, there will be times when you get on each others’ nerves, perhaps to the point where you feel like a kid again!
When you need them the most, your best communication skills can fly out the window in times of stress, leaving you feeling and acting more like a child than an adult. Don’t get sucked back into childhood. Whether it’s someone’s annoying habits, bossy siblings, parental favorites, scapegoats, rivalries, conflicts and jealousies, you can be sucked right back into the primal jungle of childhood, before you know what’s hit you.
A key strategy to stay out of the jungle is to prepare ahead of time.
You know your family only too well, so are probably very familiar with the kinds of patterns and dynamics that rear their ugly heads. Here are some useful strategies to prepare yourself:
1) Limit your time. If you’ve noticed too much time together leads to arguments, why not decide to limit time spent together so it’s just enough for you to enjoy and not long enough for things to go wrong. A day visit rather than an overnight for example may be more successful. Know your limits!
2) Plan ahead. If you are the sort who tends to get swept up in activities organized by others that you don’t really enjoy, think ahead about what you’d like to do and make a plan to do it, whether its to see a film, a hike or visit someone you like. You will feel more in control and probably enjoy yourself more.
3) Decide to keep a positive attitude. Lastly think of ways ahead of time to keep things light and positive. Some ideas are to give compliments, think of funny stories or jokes to share, bring games to play, listen and pay attention to others, help out with chores and ensure you have enough alone time to stay calm and relaxed. Often making these kinds of decisions helps influence how everyone else behaves – after all it only takes one person to start it off!
*Image from Canva