How to Deal with Difficult Family During the Holidays

deal with a difficult family

Are you dreading the holidays?

Getting together with difficult family members this holiday season? Even if you’re stressed around them, you can learn to deal with a difficult family situation. Simply watch the video, follow my 10 tips below and you’ll survive the holidays and feel good about yourself!

While commercials and music tend to paint the holidays as a time that’s easily filled with love and laughter, the reality is different. Many of us find this time of year stressful. There’s conflicts that seem to surface every year. There’s those relatives who are just unpleasant to be around. Or maybe you’re going through a breakup or your moods have held you hostage. As a result, you’re just dreading the holidays.

Even if your family is a battlefield, or you are super stressed-out, you can survive the holidays. In fact, you can turn Christmas or Hanukkah or New Years into one of the best holidays you’ve ever had.

How to Survive the Holidays: Steps to Deal with a Difficult Family.

Watch it to learn proven steps that will help you deal with a difficult family and make your holidays happy. Then read on below for 10 proven steps to deal with a difficult family situation.

So as I said in the video, exuding love and gratitude will make a huge difference for you.

Ten Tips to Help You Deal with Difficult Family Members

Dealing with Difficult Family Tip 1. Shock your troublesome ‘bad egg’ relatives into being cordial

List three things, even small things, like hair color or crossword puzzle ability, you truly appreciate about them. Work these things into your conversation in an authentic way at the beginning of the family visit. This will tend to shock these ‘bad eggs’ into being ‘good eggs.’

Dealing with Difficult Family Tip 2. Use the therapist’s secret.

When you’re facing a battle-axe relative, win by refusing to fight. Accept comments that used to upset you with a nod and say “That’s the way you see it.” This really throws them and saves you from a lot of holiday stress.

Dealing with Difficult Family Tip 3. Neutralize joy-kill fighting among your kids.

Get all of your kids, even your youngest, into helping to prepare for the holiday. Have them set the table, decorate, slice and dice. This key piece of family relationship advice will engage the children’s attention, give them something to be proud of and stop any fighting.

Dealing with Difficult Family Tip 4. Set your intention for this holiday.

You can make up your mind to have a happy holiday, no matter what your family relationships are like. Make a love affirmation like: “This is the happiest Christmas or Hanukkah I’ve ever had.” Remember to use the present tense. Instead of engaging in family relationship battles, as soon as it’s possible, give yourself your own fun—excuse yourself and go for a walk or make snow angels with the kids.

Dealing with Difficult Family Tip 5. Stop worrying about looking good.

Say you’re having your in-laws over for dinner and you’re nervous. Realize that it’s not about having a house that is perfect: it’s about what it feels like when people come into your house. If you’re all-consumed with the decorations, table setting and the food being perfect, you’ll end up exhausted, miserable, or fighting with your kids and husband. Your real job is to create celebration, fun and joy.

Dealing with Difficult Family Tip 6. Create a tradition of personal sharing and gratitude.

Around the dinner table ask each family member to talk about favorite memories of the holiday, especially the blessings and small miracles they experienced. Have them share what they are most thankful for on this special day. Research shows that the happiest people are the ones who are grateful for what they have.

Dealing with Difficult Family Tip 7. Set up a positive bond when a new boy/girlfriend comes to holiday dinner.

Here’s some key family relationship advice when introducing a new love interest. Beforehand, tell both the family and your friend all the “good news” about each other. Introduce discussion topics both have interest in. If you are the newbie in the family, bring an incredibly thoughtful gift for the occasion, ask questions and listen a lot. Appreciate any and all good things about the meal, the house and the family members and remember to tell them what you enjoyed!

Dealing with Difficult Family Tip 8. Give the gift of quality time.

Give a massage, a long walk-and-talk, a romantic getaway or a family trip involve giving of yourself. Your time and attention, which are the most valuable gifts of all.

Dealing with Difficult Family Tip 9. Bring spirituality back into the holiday.

Pray, meditate or simply spend time in nature alone or with your loved ones. This offers you ‘peace on earth’ that is much more fulfilling than unwrapping a hundred gifts.

Dealing with Difficult Family Tip 10. Do three random acts of kindness every day during the holiday season.

Unselfish acts of giving where you expect nothing in return are super good for your own health and mood.

Follow these 10 steps and you’ll turn this holiday time into the best yet.

find mr. right this year
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Sign up here for a powerful gift!

FREE Top-Tier Love Strategy Session!

Limited time offer

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Are you a successful woman who is tired of having NO good men to date?  THIS  is for you!

Hi, I'm Dr. Diana Kirschner. My team and I have helped thousands of successful single women, including judges, famous shrinks, CEOs, philanthropists, Directors, professors, and celebrities like Hoda Kotb from The Today Show to find a high-quality man who understands, appreciates and cherishes them, and I'm confident we can help YOU too!

I'm a PBS Love expert and psychologist who has appeared on Oprah, the Today Show and in an Amazon Prime show, Love in 90 Days based on my bestseller Love in 90 Days.  My work has been featured in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, ABC, People, and NPR.

I specialize in helping high-caliber women create feminine self-confidence, dating success, and passionate love matches.

I want to do everything I can to give you hands-on personalized support that will make a lasting difference!

That's why I'm excited to offer a FREE Top-Tier Love Strategy Session via Zoom or phone with one of my gifted coaches.

During your powerful and dynamic one-on-one session, we will help you with your unique dating situation. You'll walk away refreshed and inspired, with a clear step-by-step path forward to move through any obstacles and get the top-tier love you want.  And deserve!

"I followed the program and enjoyed the process. I appreciate Dr. Diana planting very helpful seeds!"
-Hoda Kotb, The Today Show

Here's what women like you are saying:

"My love strategy session helped me to meet a really high-caliber guy!  In it I learned how to tweak my profile to attract great matches.  And my boyfriend is the best!  We are having a blast building our dream house and planning for a cruise to Tahiti ! -Darla, Psychologist & Author

matchmaker, dating coach, dating tips, dating & relationship advice"I was fifty-two years old with a career that was enviably successful. But my love life was not. And I couldn't figure out why. As my love mentor, Diana helped me understand that I not only deserved to have but could have a strong, loving life partner who would always be there for me.  I found true love in three months! And after 4 plus years of marriage, my husband and I still pinch ourselves every day to make sure that it's not a dream!" - Midge Woolsey, PBS Pledge Host

Leave a Comment