Don’t Go Home For Christmas! I love Christmas and it is my favorite time of the year. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I enjoy spending this holiday with my grown children and grandchildren. With that being said, the good news about Christmas is that families get together. The bad news about Christmas is that it many times exposes and exacerbates family dysfunctions! But these thoughts aren’t so much about Christmas; they are about the emotional dynamics that swirl around our families of origin. Christmas just happens to be the time when those dynamics are most keenly felt. All spouses bring their families and their family history into their marriages. Issues such as inadequate launching of adult children, over-dependence on parents, attempting to repair the irreparable, and parenting your parents, are all serious impediments to enjoying healthy relationships with members of your family of origin. My admonition to all married couples is to do nothing with your families or origin out of begrudging obligation, or to try to help when it is not your role to help. What is mandatory at these times is a dialogue between adult children and their parents that will establish and clarify roles and expectations. When family members are willing to enter into this dialogue, I believe that good outcomes are the result. When they are not, you likely will be forced back into a sense of duty rather than experiencing joyful community. And when you are feeling that sense of dreaded duty, my advice is: don’t go home for Christmas!
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