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Mitchell Rosen: How to survive holiday get-togethers with your family

By in Press Enterprise on December 2, 2017

By Mitchell Rosen

By the time you read this, my grown daughter will have hosted her first holiday feast. Doesn’t matter if the turkey was burnt or perfect; going to the home of my daughter and her husband marks a new chapter for our family. I’m not thrilled about fighting holiday traffic, but my wife and I will do it gladly.

As a family counselor, this is the time of the year I hear family horror stories: Parents estranged from their children or grown children who want nothing to do with one or both of their parents. Siblings who won’t be in the same room and have kept up a feud for so long no one can quite remember what started it all in the first place. Kids won’t talk to mom or dad’s new spouse even though they’ve been married close to 10 years. It goes on and on.

The configurations and ways parents, kids, siblings, in-laws and former spouses can mess up a family are infinite.

That said, let me share what I have learned from families trying to stay healthy:

If relatives are adults, don’t pretend you are going to change them. This may sound like common sense, but I see so many arguments centered on expecting another person will agree or see the light.

Don’t fight about who will host the holidays or who is going to cook what. Be grateful family still wants to be together and figure out the minutiae without acrimony.

Family secrets aren’t healthy. Asking a relative to keep a secret from another relative is a recipe for disaster. If you’ve got something to say, own it and say it; gossip is for the reality TV shows.

Love each other enough to know the difference between ignoring, enabling or interfering. If uncle Joe or aunt Millie drink too much, hit their kids […]    

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