These Are the Tips You Need To Deal With Terrible Family This Thanksgiving
This is a joke. But it’s one we need right now.
Everyone knows how difficult family can be during the holidays. Leslie Jones recently shared her methods for dealing with unruly guests on The Daily Show, and in keeping with that same spirit, here are our methods for dealing with toxic family this Thanksgiving.
I should let you know up front that this article is mostly a joke; your mileage may vary with how effective these techniques are. If you are in a genuinely abusive/toxic situation, seek professional counseling to determine the best course of action for yourself.
Have a racism/politics jar
We all have family members who seem determined to say something racist or bring up some political hot take that is bound to ruffle feathers or perpetuate falsehoods. Thus, we suggest instituting a “Racism/Politics Jar.” Much like a swear jar, guests will put in a dollar for every time they bring up politics or say something racist. Whoever contributes the least to the jar by the end of the night gets to keep the money. This can also be expanded to other “forbidden topics.” You’ll have to let people know ahead of time to ensure they have cash/change necessary, but it can hopefully curb some of the less savory topics of Thanksgiving conversation.
Use “gentle parenting’ techniques
There’s a growing trend on TikTok of parents and teachers using “gentle parenting” techniques to de-escalate situations and communicate effectively with their adult family. I will say that there is a strong possibility that the adults in question will become more frustrated due to being treated like children. However, there is also a chance that adults having a tantrum will understand and, hopefully, calm down and use their nice words to express their big feelings.
Spray bottle/water gun
Alternatively, if your guests are behaving more like ornery housepets than people, a spray bottle or small water gun can be used to stop bad behavior. Just make sure that the pressure is correctly adjusted so it’s a stream and not a spray, and warn guests beforehand. “You get one warning and then I pull out the spray bottle.”
Have a designated quiet/destress area
I know not everyone has space for this, but if you have a spare bedroom, office, closet, yard, or pillow fort, having a space where people can go if they just need some peace and quiet away from the other family can be helpful to keeping everyone calm. Alternatively, if you see another family member in distress, maybe ask if they want to go for a walk to get away from the chaos.
Sometimes you also just need to take a break from family, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Some family members will be offended by your choice, but at least this way, you don’t expose yourself to the toxicity in-person.
If you do want to attend the event, make your boundaries clear from the start, and if someone crosses them, leave. Or if your family makes it clear that they have no intention of listening, take a break this year. If you’re going with a partner to see their family, give them the responsibility of curbing their family’s behavior and let them know that if they don’t respect you, you will leave.
Sometimes, not engaging is the best method of dealing with family.
What are your favorite methods of dealing with toxic family? Share them in the comments!
(featured image: The WB)
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]