TWU Professor Offers Advice On Avoiding Holiday Conflicts
TWU Professor Offers Advice On Avoiding Holiday
DENTON The holidays traditionally are a time of
togetherness, but many families find preparing for the events to
be a time of great stress. A Texas Woman's University professor
says communication is the key to easing the tension the holidays
Dr. Joyce Armstrong, associate professor of family sciences at
TWU, said avoiding potential conflicts around the holidays
requires including all family members in the decision-making
Families need to carve out time in their schedules to
talk about the holidays, she said. Take time to
establish holiday goals and family goals. I encourage regular
family meetings they are a powerful way of
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.
Current economic 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.
I believe 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.
Armstrong said it's important to teach children that the
holidays are about more than receiving.
Things are 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.
Deciding with whom to share the holidays can be a source of
conflict, however, and can be especially complicated in extended
or blended families. These decisions should involve all family
members, Armstrong said, and a compromise may need to be made.
Some families rotate, spending the holidays with one
family one year and another the following year, she said.
Some choose to spend Thanksgiving with one family and
Christmas with another. Some especially families with
young children decide to stay home and have family come to
Regardless of the decisions made, it's important for each
family member to have a voice, Armstrong said.
It doesn't take money to build strong and healthy
families, she said. It requires an investment of
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