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Offers Advice On Avoiding Holiday Conflicts
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The traditional images of Christmas show families gathered
together, happily sharing the joys of the season. The preparations
behind those picture-perfect moments can cause stress, however.
The key to easing the tension, a Texas Woman’s University
professor says, is communication.
Dr. Joyce Armstrong,
associate professor of family sciences at TWU, said research
on family strengths indicates that healthy families communicate
in times of stress.
need to carve out time in their schedules to talk about the
holidays,” Armstrong said. “Take time to establish
holiday goals and family goals. I encourage regular family
meetings — they are a powerful way of communicating.”
important that each family member have a voice in the decision-making
process, she said.
Deciding in advance
how much to spend on holiday purchases — and sticking
to that amount — can help prevent a common source of
conflict. “Many families overextend (financially) during
this time,” Armstrong said. “Experts say most
people don’t pay off their credit card purchases until
six months after the holiday.”
conditions may leave many families with less money to spend
on gifts. Armstrong said parents should be open with their
children about why there won’t be as many presents under
the tree as there were last year.
many children will understand,” she said. “It’s
often more difficult for parents to acknowledge (financial
difficulties) than it is for children, because as parents,
you want to give to your children.”
it’s important to teach children that the holidays are
about more than getting presents.
temporal; toys wear out,” she said. “What most
people remember about the holidays is the time spent with
family and friends. That’s what they value. It doesn’t
take money to build strong and healthy families. It requires
an investment of time.”
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