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Christmas Family Problems...

So, my son is fifteen months old this Christmas, so he is aware of stuff going on around us (unlike last year), and this Christmas is gearing up to be a very dramatic one, for many reasons. We live with my parents, who are great, but my brothers will both be here from out of state and they are both jerks most of the time, along with my sister-in-law, who I can't stand. My sister will also be here, and she has her own share of problems that my parents are very touchy about. We will be running around to inlaws' houses as well, who are not exactly nice people either and can be very difficult to be around, so we are going to have an uncomfortable Christmas, to say the least. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to make it better for my son, so he doesn't notice the tension in the air? I really want this Christmas to be special for him...

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Iskkra

Asked by Iskkra at 1:38 AM on Dec. 23, 2008 in Holidays

Level 3 (20 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • Refuse to be part of the drama. If there's no way out, you can at least refuse to buy into their acts. Kill everyone with kindness and don't worry about what you get in return.
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 1:44 AM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • Well, It's too close to Christmas to make changes this year but hopefully next year you will be out of your parents home & make a new home for you & your family. Maybe you can then stop in for quick visits for the Holidays but make a point of just spending your Christmas time with your husband & the children. The family should understand since they once did this for their own family. If they don't understand, Well, that's just too bad & you have to make yourself happy first.
    onespecialmom

    Answer by onespecialmom at 1:59 AM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • I agree with gdiamante, kill them with kindness, become "an actress" as I have done for my son and little does he know it has made us both better people and he has a more kinder soul then I do because of this. Envelope yourself in your family and show them how much you, hubby and baby love each other and are happy. They in turn will want to be nice back, ( I hope).
    Gigi1969

    Answer by Gigi1969 at 2:21 AM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • Be ready to wisk him away at the start of drama - get a "goody bag" ready to distract him. The good thing is (and please believe me!) that at 15 months there will be no lasting damage if he hears some harsh words - as long as they don't come from you! Just be his constant companion and enlist DH in the fight against meanness as well.

    Good luck!
    Wimsey

    Answer by Wimsey at 2:38 AM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • My ex's family was like that, so at all holidays, my ex knew the rule: first sign of drama, I would loudly and excitedly tell my son, "Oh my gosh, we have to go home! It's time for (insert some exciting thing here)!". Scoop son up and walk out the door. We both had car keys and ex knew if he wasn't with us, son & I were leaving w/o him. It only took about 2 holidays of that before they figured out what that statement meant and would immediately stop what they were doing so that we would stay (mainly b/c the drama would start within 30 minutes of getting there, and they wanted to see son more).
    tropicalmama

    Answer by tropicalmama at 9:15 AM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • these posts are all brilliant. it definitely depends on your personality and your child's. if you have to limit your time, do it. I did and my son is way healthier for it. As he got older, I never lied about anything and that also worked out. Your kid is probably smart and is going to catch on to everything, your idea of shielding and cushioning is the right one!!! if they know the "front line" is cool, kids handle the dumb stuff pretty well, at least that is what I have seen
    DanaWar

    Answer by DanaWar at 9:52 AM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • I've been in the same boat at Chrsitmas with my ex's family and really the best advice has already been given. Stay postive and keep a smile on your face the entire time. Your son will be much mor ecofortable if Mommy and Daddy are smiling and unaffected by the chaos around him. Also be prepared to remove him from the situation at a momnets notice. You already have the exscuse to leave your parents place to go to inlaws use the have to go home to see family exscuse at your inlaws and go out for dinner. Make the holiday special for you and your little family and ignore the rest of them. I found driving around looking at Christams lights was the perfect exscuse to be gone from any house until bedtime,lol.
    tat2edmommyof2

    Answer by tat2edmommyof2 at 11:03 AM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • You know the old saying, "You can't pick your family!" I think Christmas time is a perfect time to be the "better" person. It is important to see family especially at this time of year. Put aside differences and focus on the reason for the season. Be generous with kindness and your child will see that as an example. Forgive and above all things do not discuss the family differences in front of your child. Even on the drive home.

    I have a complicated family too. We have had many struggles over the years. I have found that my kids are more accepting than I am at times. And I see now that they are growing up that they love their family in spite of their differences. I have also found that the younger folks are actually looking up to my son's because they are stable. And I found that when ever I did not take my own advice, it only made me look bad!

    JulieJB

    Answer by JulieJB at 12:07 PM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • The only thing I can suggest is remember whose baggage is whose and don't get caught up in everyone else's drama. Be clear about your boundaries and focus on your little family unit and forget about the rest as much as possible.
    figaro8895

    Answer by figaro8895 at 2:18 PM on Dec. 23, 2008

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