Alyson Jones appeared on CTV on Dec 21, 2022 to discuss challenges and solutions for “Navigating Family Dynamics Over the Holidays”. This article provides a summary of what is discussed. But, please feel free to watch the video on CTVNews.ca.
The holidays are filled with family gatherings to share the joy of the season. But along with these festive moments we may find ourselves in the middle of some stressful and awkward family moments.
Under the pressure of the season, and the heightened emotions that often come at this time of the year, an idyllic family gathering may become an awkward hot mess of emotion.
So, what do we do about these awkward family dynamics?
Whenever I think of Easter I think of spring flowers, Easter egg hunts and of course…chocolate. My family did not focus on the religious aspects of Easter growing up, so during my childhood Easter was a secular experience which involved a long weekend, some treats and a good meal at home. In elementary school I saw “Jesus Christ Superstar” and realized that Easter had much more to it than chocolate and a good meal. I loved the music and the story, but I was at a loss as to how my experience of Easter matched up to the story I saw in the movie. It looked much too hot for an Easter egg hunt and I was sure all that chocolate would melt in the dessert climate.
Although the holiday season can be filled with action and activity, it is a difficult time for many. Some people are grappling with the loss of their loved ones or those they miss. Others may be dealing with the loss of expectations and a sense of disconnection during the “festive” season.
In order to handle the grief that can arise during this intense time of the year, here are four tips to move through those feelings of loss and allow for connection and joy to emerge.
The holidays are filled with social gatherings, family dinners and opportunities to connect and share the joy of the season. But with this festive season also come land mines that are within every family – all this togetherness can sometimes backfire. Just when you thought you might be basking in the bliss of family connection and caring, you may actually find yourself in the middle of a family meltdown. For many, this meltdown is one of the most feared events of the season.
As a Child and Family Therapist I encourage making family time a priority. It is important to know our roots, and multi-generational family gatherings bring us a sense of identity, support and love. Family loyalty, family connection and attachment secure us in this world. Every family has its history, and within that history one will find a mix of powerful emotions. It is not unusual to find a residue of frustration and suppression amongst the mix. Under the pressure of the season, and the heightened emotions that often come at this time of the year, you might hit a land mine before you know it and the idyllic family gathering may then turn into a hot mess of emotion.