Because my husband and I are both the scapegoated black sheep in our families of origin, we put our heads together and came up with a list of things NOT to do to keep the peace at home for the holidays.
For parents of adult children:
•Keep your opinions to yourself.
•Give advice only when asked.
•Don’t play favorites.
•You don’t know everything so don’t act like you do.
•They’re adults, treat them like that.
•No “just joking” comments or back-handed compliments.
•No comparisons, just acceptance.
•No pressuring or guilting.
•No pitting children/adult children against the other(s). That means, no talking about children that are not present.
•No gossiping about other family members.
•Don’t force people to get together and get along with one another for the sake of the holiday. Divide time or split days to accommodate different families and personalities.
•No blaming others for your problems.
•No discussing financial issues or inappropriate talk and/or behavior with your children.
•Don’t allow alcohol into the family holiday as this is a huge gateway to problems.
For adult children of narcissistic, toxic, or emotionally immature parents/siblings:
Remember, you are in control. If you start to feel uncomfortable at anytime, it’s time to restate your boundaries calmly and clearly. If your boundaries are ignored and things escalate after that, then you politely excuse yourself and leave. Keep your emotions in check, your volume down, and try not to take what your family says or does personally.
We know it feels personal, but it’s not about you. Their behavior is about them.