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Holiday Boundaries with Family

Set boundaries on your time

One way to set boundaries with family during the holidays is to have boundaries around your time, where you spend your time, and who you spend it with.

This might look like:

  • Choosing to stay in a hotel instead of staying with family.

  • Limiting the amount of time you spend at family gatherings.

  • Choosing to arrive late or leave early for family events.

  • Choosing not to attend family gatherings where a particularly challenging relative will be present.

Set boundaries on interactions

This might require having some uncomfortable conversations or interactions. Some example boundary phrases you can use would include:

  • “Please don’t use that language in front of me/my children.”

  • “That’s an unkind/impolite/inappropriate thing to say. Let’s talk about something else.”

  • “I’d rather not discuss X topic. Please don’t bring it up again.”

  • “Let’s not talk about politics/religion/X topic.”

You may also have to explicitly state your boundaries before seeing family or when greeting them. This might look like saying things like:

  • “Please don’t ask when my spouse and I are going to have children. It’s not something I want to discuss.”

  • “We’re allowing the kids to have autonomy over their bodies. Please don’t pressure them to hug and kiss you if they don’t want to.”

Set financial boundaries

The holidays can be a time of increased financial strain. Seeing family may require you to travel and increase these holiday expenses. Let your loved ones know what you can and cannot afford. If you are on a budget, let your family and friends know your limits so they don’t pressure you to spend more than you can afford.

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