How To Stop Your Siblings Driving You Crazy At Christmas
It's fair to say tensions are running high after a difficult year, and all it takes is a row over the washing up or losing at Monopoly to tip us over the edge.
The good news? There are simple steps you can take to avoid World War III in your parents' living room. Here's how to get through Christmas without driving your siblings up the wall...
"Christmas is a time where we can get together with family [who] on the whole we don't have much to do with throughout the year. We are in each other's company because we feel we 'should' but would rather not, if we were honest," says relationship expert John Kenny.
Having members of the family around that you don't usually see can cause potentially triggering scenarios, John adds.
"Christmas can bring up issues that as a family have never been resolved," he explains. "Old tensions resurface that we try to avoid the rest of the year and when in close proximity can be hard to ignore.
"It will take one word, gesture, remark to trigger the deep seated issues. Add some alcohol into that and it is even harder to keep control of your emotions.
"Things from the past that have festered, old rivalries, people playing one playing off of each other and anything else that has always been an issue that they haven't taken the time to resolve.
"In these cases there may also be someone looking to start something because their old grievances have never been cleared up for them and will start a fight over something seemingly innocuous."
Sibling rivalries can also flare up at this time of year - particularly if there's a history of it when you were growing up.
"There may be old wounds that haven't healed, and parents may play one sibling off against the other," John said. "It can lead to one sibling trying to get one over on the other - buying bigger and better presents than the other, for example."
There are some deep-rooted issues in families that run too deeply to be resolved by pasting a smile on over the festive season.
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But for some who are forced or feel like they are obliged to spend Christmas with the in-laws this year, John does have a few tips to try and spend time together a little more bearable.
"If you are carrying things into the festivities it is important that you decide how you want your time to be," he said.
"Put yourself in a positive or even neutral headspace so that you can manage yourself if difficult situations arise."
Naturally, one of John's biggest pointers is to avoid alcohol, which can often act as a catalysts for slips of the tongue and big rows.
"Alcohol lowers our ability to control our emotions and our tongues - so keep it to a minimum. Be calm and relaxed - if you don't show the usual reactions then the other people will find it hard to repeat the same problems."
If moments do become heated or tense, John recommends taking some time out to avoid things going from bad to worse.
"Remove yourself if it looks like it is escalating - give yourself some time and space to collect your thoughts so that you can stay out of any problems," he said. "You can't stop how others will be, but you can choose to be as you want."
But naturally, even if you take every precaution, some people will just get under your skin, with rows at Christmas almost as inevitable as heartburn.
And in these situations, John says to choose to respond, rather than to react to aggressions.
"If you are feeding what someone is trying to achieve from blowing things up, then centre yourself and do something different," he advised.
"It is very hard to keep things in a high emotional state by yourself - people usually need the energy to feed from. Put your arms around someone, say sorry if you know you have done/said something you know you could have avoided.
"Ask if you can be at peace for the day and can you talk about this another time."
Featured Image Credit: KUWTK/ E!
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