#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 5°C Friday 5 March 2021

Here's how to deal with any family stress this Christmas

“It’s important to realise that you can’t change the way other people speak to you or treat you, but you can change your response.”

Image: Shutterstock/littleny

AFTER WEEKS OF looking forward to some time off work and catching up with family and friends, many people can feel frustrated when they finally get home to their family.

Psychotherapist and relationship therapist with Relationships Ireland, Bernadette Ryan, told TheJournal.ie that people often fit back into their old roles when they return home.

“Christmas brings up our own nostalgia for times past and it brings out the child in all of us, so when people are at home – the old sibling rows can sometimes start up again.

Everybody gets caught back into the family dynamic, it’s the unspoken language.

“It’s a ripe climate for family rows, it’s a hot house. People are together for two full days and too much alcohol can be the cause of a lot of rows.”

Another problem can be unrealistic expectations that people put on their time together over the Christmas holidays.

Ryan added that sometimes even though the children returning are adults, there’s still an expectation for ”mammy to take care of everything”.

“Mums sometimes tend to try and make Christmas perfect for everyone.”

Staying calm, cool and collected

Ryan said that it’s important to realise that you can’t change the way other people speak to you or treat you, but you can change your response.

 You can change your own response and guard your own boundaries – if you don’t want to get treated like a child – chose not to, chose to stay out of it.

“Don’t take it personally, just let it go over your head.”

However Ryan also added that when you’re returning home if you live away “you’re now returning as a guest”.

She also said that if you’re bringing home children at this time of the year it’s important to ask yourself, “Why are we going, why are we bringing the children to their grandparents?”

New parents can be very overprotective but one of the key things to remember is that grandchildren are actually entitled to a relationship with their grandparents.

“That’s part of their wider relationship circle and it’s formative.”

The therapist also pointed out that, “If there’s really unhappy memories around Christmas – maybe question why you’re going home.

“If you’re going home a sense of duty, you need to take a look at that.”

Read: British astronaut says he will look down and think of his family on Christmas day>

About the author:

Read next: