Holiday Family Fights

Holiday Family Fights

For some, getting through the stress of the holidays means trying to avoid the traditional family fight at Thanksgiving or Christmas.  I remember my grandfather drinking too much, getting mad at my mom, she ends up crying, and him leaving early huffing and puffing out the door.  So much for a Happy Thanksgiving or a Merry Christmas!

As a mediator, I find avoiding family fights one of the top priorities for many during the holiday season.  Here are a few of the common fights:

  • The In-Law Fight. Marriage does instantly create family. Parents never accepted the partner of the child.  Children never accepted the new partner of a parent.
  • The Alcohol Induced Fight. Give anyone too much liquor and just watch the fireworks.
  • The Religion and Politics Fight. There is a reason why people stay away from these topics, especially after some alcohol.
  • The “You Never Amounted to Nothing” Diatribe. This is more of a rant than a fight. The result is just the same; victims and blood everywhere.  Alcohol always helps this one get started.
  • Last, but least, the “Why Can’t You be Like the Others” Fight. This fight ofter originates with parents focused on the misfit child. The whole family would be better if the misfit would just learn to conform or “get along.”

Now that I have described some of my favorite holiday family fights, what can you do about them? Here are a few strategies. If you are hosting the holiday gathering, you can make some ground rules. How about limiting the amount of alcohol consumption for a start?  Or, certain subjects or people are off limits for conversation.  In order to keep things more positive, how about digging out some old family photos or movies.  Many families have a great time reflecting on past events.  You could even ask each family to bring one of their favorite photos and explain why they selected it.  The point?  If you are the host, you control the environment.  You get a chance to possibly start some new traditions.

Now, if you are not hosting and attending the gathering at another family members home, here are some pointers.  Think about how to excuse yourselves if the family starts down the fight trail.    You can even have an agreed upon word or sentence that signals your spouse or family – time to leave.  If you are ready to confront some difficult family behavior, schedule a pre-holiday conversation to discuss the issue.  “We will not participate in conversations that quickly turn abusive.  If we come, and you raise issues that lead to escalating conflict, we will leave.  We would like to stay and enjoy the day.  How about we think about how to make this a good day for everyone?.”  Think about your words.  Try to describe the situation accurately without using inflammatory descriptors.  Many spouses and children do not feel safe at holiday gatherings.  Thus, they would rather stay home.

If you are ready to invest in a process to create peace for your family, we are here to help you on that journey. We offer a FREE 15-minute phone consultation to help you make the first step on the journey.

I hope this holiday brings you and your family peace, joy, love and hope.

The Magic of Words

The Magic of Words

Words have the power to build or destroy, help or hurt, and heal or wound. This Christmas, or any time of year, give the person you love some words to build, help, and heal. Below are some ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas.

Day 1 – Hand written note describing a trait you most appreciate in your partner, family member or friend. Leave the note in a place he or she will discover.

Day 2 – Text a single word four different times in the day that describes him or her.

Day 3 – Post a fun* photo of the person on social media. She or he should think it is fun as well!

Day 4 – Write a hand written “Thank You” for something he or she did for you or continues to do for you.

Day 5 – Mail a card, either purchased or handmade. Write a personal note. Since the mail will arrive a day or two later, you will need to think of another “word” for this day.

Day 6 – Write a note or text why you respect him or her.

Day 7 – Text four times during the day, “I am proud of you ________”.

Day 8 – Share a photo of both of you on a special moment on social media with a comment.

Day 9 – Share another “Thank You”, either by hand written note or text

Day 10 – Describe how he or she has made you a better person.

Day 11 – Describe why you trust him or her.

Day 12 – Share your dreams for the future with him or her. This one could be a letter!

Can you do me a favor? Let me know how your partner, family member, or friend was impacted by the Magic of Words. Thanks!

Where is Your Labor Going?

Where is Your Labor Going?

You have heard the saying, “work smarter, not harder”. How about taking a step back and spending time considering WHERE is your labor going? Simon Sinek says start with WHY. Why are you on planet earth and what is your purpose? When you know your WHY, then you can go to the next step and vision living your life on purpose. The late Stephen Covey taught to begin with the end in mind. Many people thought this was just for time management in project planning. Productivity is important once you put the big rocks in your calendar first, not last. Then, you work effectively to spend time on what matters most to you.

Here is my Labor Day challenge. Take an hour sometime and let yourself dream about what kind of life you want to live. Where would you live? Who would live with you? What are doing? How are you working? In other words, how are you living? Now that you have a VISION for your life, reverse engineer HOW to get there. This is different than just project management for a goal. You will have goals. Just make sure your goals take you to the destination of your vision. We can accomplish goals but leave what we value most behind. As you create a vision for your life, values become your North Star to guide you. I have mediated more than one divorce or family estrangement because a goal was reached, often wealth, but important relationships were damaged. I have been present for the last moments of a person on this planet. He or she never asked for money to surround the bed. The cherished moments are family surrounding the bed and celebrating the life of the person passing. Live life on purpose. Make a difference. Know where your labor is going.

How to Pick an Attorney

How to Pick an Attorney

The attorney selected for your case is critical to the outcome. If the other party retained a “bulldog,” aggressive attorney, the chances for mediation are slim. You will need to match the intensity of the aggressive, litigating attorney. This will be a VERY EXPENSIVE and DESTRUCTIVE process. I know very few people who enjoy the “win.” In fact, you can win the battle but lose the war.

As a mediator, I cultivate relationships with cooperative or collaborative attorneys. A cooperative attorney will fully represent you. He or she will also advise you about the cost, not only financially, but relationally about litigation. Cooperative attorneys can become agitated with one another, yet they keep the best interest of their clients in mind. I just settled a case involving two cooperative attorneys. A good mediator can help resolve issues between attorneys as well as the clients. There were moments in the case where I needed to help each attorney reflect on the current pathway and help problem-solve with creative options.

Collaborative attorneys are actually trained in collaborative practice. Thus, you need to ask if he or she has received training. Attorneys, clients, and mediators are all at the same table. A collaborative agreement is signed by all, defining the process and scope of work. Other professionals may be brought in as needed. As a client, you are fully represented, yet both attorneys are literally working for both clients seeking a peaceful and sustainable resolution. The process can still be expensive, yet less costly than litigation.

In mediation, I often need to send people to an attorney for a legal consultation. Mediation is based upon informed consent, thus understanding your legal rights is critical. Sometimes, clients wish to get an initial consultation before commencing mediation. Others will wait until several legal questions arise from the mediation process, then consult with an attorney for very precise counsel.

Therefore, when picking an attorney, you need to know WHY you need an attorney, HOW you will use the attorney, and WHAT you expect from your attorney. Genesis Mediation offers a FREE 15-minute consultation. We would be happy to help you understand how an attorney would interact on your case, and if needed, give you a number of attorneys to interview. And yes, you should interview several attorneys before selecting the one to represent you. We will be honest with you about if your case should be mediated or litigated and point you to the appropriate attorneys to match your need.

Holiday Family Fights

Holiday Family Fights

For some, getting through the stress of the holidays means trying to avoid the traditional family fight at Thanksgiving or Christmas.  I remember my grandfather drinking too much, getting mad at my mom, she ends up crying, and him leaving early huffing and puffing out the door.  So much for a Happy Thanksgiving or a Merry Christmas!

 

As a mediator, I find avoiding family fights one of the top priorities for many during the holiday season.  Here are a few of the common fights:

 

  • The In-Law Fight. Marriage does instantly create family. Parents never accepted the partner of the child.  Children never accepted the new partner of a parent.
  • The Alcohol Induced Fight. Give anyone too much liquor and just watch the fireworks.
  • The Religion and Politics Fight. There is a reason why people stay away from these topics, especially after some alcohol.
  • The “You Never Amounted to Nothing” Diatribe. This is more of a rant than a fight. The result is just the same; victims and blood everywhere.  Alcohol always helps this one get started.
  • Last, but least, the “Why Can’t You be Like the Others” Fight. This fight ofter originates with parents focused on the misfit child. The whole family would be better if the misfit would just learn to conform or “get along.”

 Now that I have described some of my favorite holiday family fights, what can you do about them? Here are a few strategies. If you are hosting the holiday gathering, you can make some ground rules. How about limiting the amount of alcohol consumption for a start?  Or, certain subjects or people are off limits for conversation.  In order to keep things more positive, how about digging out some old family photos or movies.  Many families have a great time reflecting on past events.  You could even ask each family to bring one of their favorite photos and explain why they selected it.  The point?  If you are the host, you control the environment.  You get a chance to possibly start some new traditions.

Now, if you are not hosting and attending the gathering at another family members home, here are some pointers.  Think about how to excuse yourselves if the family starts down the fight trail.    You can even have an agreed upon word or sentence that signals your spouse or family – time to leave.  If you are ready to confront some difficult family behavior, schedule a pre-holiday conversation to discuss the issue.  “We will not participate in conversations that quickly turn abusive.  If we come, and you raise issues that lead to escalating conflict, we will leave.  We would like to stay and enjoy the day.  How about we think about how to make this a good day for everyone?.”  Think about your words.  Try to describe the situation accurately without using inflammatory descriptors.  Many spouses and children do not feel safe at holiday gatherings.  Thus, they would rather stay home.

 

If you are ready to invest in a process to create peace for your family, we are here to help you on that journey. We offer a FREE 15-minute phone consultation to help you make the first step on the journey.

 

I hope this holiday brings you and your family peace, joy, love and hope.