Three Tips for Not Reacting to Family

LEN - david cunningham in-lawsLandmark Forum Leader and Landmark spokesperson David Cunningham recently wrote an article which appeared in Tidewater Parent, giving advice about staying cool and not overreacting to family members at gatherings this summer. Here are some excerpts from the article, which includes 3 tips on not reacting to things that would ordinarily be upsetting.

  • Realize it’s not personal

You may say, “What do you mean it isn’t personal? What’s more personal than criticism from family members?” The fact is, we almost all experience added stress when we get together with extended family, not matter what the occasion. If you understand that everyone goes through trying times with family, it will help you to take the actions you can to help get things back to a positive footing.

  • Get the facts

There is always a reason why someone is upset. No matter what the issue is, we have found it almost always boils down to one of three things:

  1. An undelivered communication,
  2. A thwarted intention, or
  3. An unfulfilled expectation.

Finding out exactly what you or someone else is upset about is the first step in diffusing it. Ask yourself, “What is behind this upset? What isn’t getting said?” If someone else in your family is getting upset, pull them aside and give them a chance to talk about what they are feeling. The most important thing is to make sure they get listened to. If you are the one who is upset, take a time out and express your feelings to someone who you know is a good listener.

  • Act instead of react

This means looking at things you can do proactively to lessen the chance that you will be the one who gets upset. For instance, practice turning expectations into requests. If you have an expectation that your kids will be on time for Father’s Day brunch, don’t expect them to read your mind. Instead, call them up the day before and let them know by saying something like, “One of the things that is really important to me is that you be one time.” If you turn your expectations into requests, you will lessen the chance of feeling disappointed.

 Read more at Tidewater Parent.

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