While summer is a wonderful time to gather with friends and loved ones, sometimes spending time with family can be anything but smooth sailing. Whether it’s a family reunion, birthday party or backyard barbecue, navigating uncomfortable family events is possible with a little preparation.
Always Keep Your Head Up
Nobody is better at pushing your buttons than family members sometimes. Whenever you are headed to family events that you are dreading, take a few moments to center yourself and find a place of calm and confidence. How will you respond to criticism? What will be your reaction when faced with negativity? Always stay positive and set a good tone for conversations.
Include Younger Cousins, Nieces and Siblings
In general, getting younger kids involved in a conversation is a good way to steer topics away from uncomfortable subjects. Most children have no interest in talking about politics, religion or other subjects that can arise when only adults are in the conversation. Whenever a sensitive subject gets brought up during a conversation including kids at family events, remind the other parties that the topics aren’t appropriate for little ears.
Don’t Take the Bait
It seems like every family has one member who thrives off of arguments that they might call “discussions.” Whenever this person starts trying to goad you into a confrontation at family events, react by doing nothing at all. Change the subject or engage the person being attacked in another conversation to show that you have no interest in an argument.
Know That You Can’t Change Someone Else’s Beliefs
Everyone in your family is entitled to their beliefs, even if they are the exact opposite of yours. Make peace with the fact that you will never change their minds over the picnic table. Be an example of tolerance and understanding for any children present by avoiding a hostile argument or passive aggressive comments. Instead, show that you can disagree with someone and still maintain a relationship.
Navigate Family Events With Ease
If you are dreading family events and struggling with how to prepare yourself to go without damaging your mental health, you are not alone. Summer events can be just as stressful as any other season. If you need someone to talk to, don’t be afraid to reach out.
If you are interested in seeking therapy in Baltimore, we’re here to help. Contact the CBT experts at CBT Baltimore at 443-470-9815. We would love to speak with you.