There are three parts to the Rules of Non-Engagement: Before, During and After. In the last post we looked at how to prepare yourself before the family event. In the next few posts we will look at what you can do in the "during" phase. DURING STAGE:
- Supporting your energy
Marta told us:
"My mom loves to make cookies and cakes, and I love to eat them. Problem is,all that sugar gives me headaches and makes me cranky.And when I’m cranky, Mom and I have problems. So I’ve told her that the only time I’m going to eat the fun food is at night, so I can be fun for her to be with all day long."
Juanita told us:
"I take naps in the afternoon, usually when my dad turns on the TV to watch sports. I used to sit around all day hating the sound of the TV and wishing I could be somewhere else, but not anymore! I tell my parents that taking naps is part of my health regime, and they not only accepted the idea, but my mom liked it so much that she does the same during my visits. Dad gets to watch sports in peace, and both Mom and I feel refreshed when dinner time rolls around. It’s been great for everyone."
- Remove some Stress
If you can relieve a relative of just a little of their stress, your good deed will come back to you as an grateful family member who is easier for you to deal with.
Darren told us:
"My mother gets stressed when things don’t seem to be getting done or she’s worried about something.This has gotten worse over the years as she has aged, because she can’t do as much cleaning as she used to. So we do things for her, and turn clean-up time into a family activity. We might say, “Come on kids, let’s go outside and rake some leaves!” If she expresses wor- ries about finances, I get on the Internet and do some research for informa- tion on refinancing.Anything she expresses worry or concern about is an opportunity for me to lower her stress load.The result is that instead of a stressed-out and worried mother when we visit, I get to enjoy her company."
"My dad-in-law is kind of a dud, and being a dud around company drives my mother-in-law crazy. So I try to engage him in things, take him out for a game of golf, invite him to come with me for a run to the store, anything that gets him away from her and gives her a break. She’s a lot happier when we visit now."
Tune in over the next few days for more and check out the resources at: DealingWithRelatives.com