4 The grump

Woman & Home (South Africa) - - Family Life -

There’s one in ev­ery fam­ily, the Scrooge who is de­ter­mined to ex­pe­ri­ence the Worst Christ­mas Ever. How to sur­vive? The first step, says Denise, is to con­sider what’s driv­ing their be­hav­iour. “Christ­mas is a hard time if you’re feel­ing low and ev­ery­one ex­pects you to be on top form. Per­haps their be­hav­iour is mask­ing anger, sad­ness, de­pres­sion. You need to avoid mak­ing them the cen­tre of at­ten­tion, as this can of­ten make the prob­lem worse be­cause they don’t want at­ten­tion drawn to them.”

In­stead, try strate­gies that give them the op­tion of be­ing in­cluded if they choose. For in­stance, if a fam­ily game is on the cards, say: “Join us if you fancy, or if you’d rather watch a film on your own, that’s fine, too.” As Denise points out, “Over Christ­mas, we can feel that ev­ery­one must do ev­ery­thing to­gether, when in re­al­ity this just may not work.” w&h

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