There are so many pressures around Christmas and many of them relate to the extended time with family, without the punctuation of work. It’s important to think ahead of time about how you’re going to handle these situations that you know to be difficult. I recently answered a number of queries on IrelandAM for viewers about some very difficult situations that they are facing for Christmas and I thought I would share them with you over these next days and weeks.
I had a falling out with my brother over 6 months ago and things haven’t been great between us since. The original fallout was over children, our children. I corrected one of his children at a family gathering and he didn’t take kindly to it and it blew up into a huge argument. Neither of us felt as if we were in the wrong so there was no apology and things have been very fractious since. Mum has invited us all to Christmas dinner this year and I’m dreading the thought of it. I don’t want to disappoint my parents and the kids all still get along together but how am I going to get through this very awkward situation.
Like many arguments, no individual feels they are fully wrong. The reality is usually that both perspectives are valid. Here, it strikes me that it is possible that one child may have been behaving badly and perhaps if the father or mother had corrected that child it wouldn’t have been left to anyone else to do it. So in this way each person’s perspective is quite valid. That said almost everyone is sensitive about other people correcting their children and one can expect a certain reaction to that no matter what.
The issue is how to resolve this matter before Christmas or how to manage Christmas Day with this tension between you.
If this matter is not cleared before Christmas then Christmas Day is not the day to do it. On that day, it would then be best to ignore any discomfort and try to avoid any discussion of it. If absolutely necessary perhaps you could say, I know we need to talk about that, but will we leave it aside for today and meet next week.
There are still two weeks to go and so I believe there is enough time to have a coffee or chat and clear the air.clearing the air does not mean that you must apologise profusely, but you could acknowledge that clearly there was upset and that your brother did not feel you had the right to correct his child. I think you could helpfully acknowledge that and the fact that you were not wishing to argue or to create bad feeling.
Your children are cousins and you are brothers and these relationships are important over a lifetime. How you manage your disagreement is a model for your children. You are showing them how to resolve conflicts, how to say sorry to those you love and how to mend differences.
In order to make Christmas Day peaceful and fun that coffee and chat could be very worthwhile.