Mediation Matters – Tips on dealing with conflicts and issues that come up in families and communities at Christmas time

  • Plan ahead. Using experience as a guide, make a mental list of events that are likely to occur and mentally prepare yourself for it
  • Know your triggers (think people, smells, sights, sounds, tone of voice, foods, alcohol, emotional intensity, etc.)
  • Find coping strategies for dealing with anger (excuse yourself from the room, take a walk, take deep breaths, close your eyes, change the subject, call a friend, leave at a set time, etc.)
  • Set boundaries – Setting boundaries during this time will help make the holidays with family a little more manageable. It’s okay to tell your family that you won’t be able to attend every single-family function they have planned. Setting these boundaries and sticking with them will help prevent resentment from building.
  • Limit alcohol – drinking too much will lower your inhibitions and prevent you from being in full control. Some people become argumentative or aggressive when drinking. And sometimes alcohol can limit our filter on topics we might normally avoid.
  • Have someone you can talk to – a partner, a cousin, a friend, anyone you can confide in to get an issue off your chest
  • Family members can explain their expectations of each other eg. How much money they will spend, how they will divide the housework, to avoid potential conflicts
  • Don’t bottle up anger, don’t raise voices, keep communication open, and try to find a solution together
  • Don’t bring up the past, deal with the present issue. Confront the issues not the people
  • Practice good listening skills and be willing to change when wrong
  • Brush it off – It seems that the holidays can bring out the best and the worst in people. Try not to take things too seriously. With all the pressures and dynamics mixing together, some things are bound to be said that aren’t truly meant that way.
  • Find reasons to be grateful – Focusing on the good things can give you a mood lift. Be grateful that you have a family to spend the holidays with, that there is delicious food to enjoy, and a home to relax in. 

    If you need help regarding a conflict in your family or community, contact a Mediation Centre near you today. If you need emergency support check this list of service organisations who can help.