Holidays mean relatives; Relatives can mean conflict. Now is the time to create supportive relationships.
When you anticipate getting together with your parents or in-laws at holiday time, do you get tense and stressed just thinking about it? Are you afraid your child will misbehave, they will not understand, and you will buckle under pressure from your elders to parent in ways you have been working hard to avoid?
So many parents are looking for new ways to parent—ones that feel right and are more respectful of their children—that might be quite different from the way they were parented. But something happens when the generations get together and we revert to old patterns. Holidays can be fraught with anxiety when a look or a comment from a parent or in-law triggers self-doubt. You cave under their authority and treat your child how you assume your parent or in-law thinks you should.
When parents are not yet confident or fluent in their new parenting approach, they feel vulnerable in the face of one who was the authority figure for so many years. The temptation is often too great to resist what that authority thinks should happen, and parents behave in the way they have been struggling to avoid.