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13 Healthy Responses to Family Drama

Family dynamics and drama cause holiday stress for many adults and children with ADHD. When seasonal stress triggers emotional dysregulation and rejection sensitive dysphoria, use these strategies to regain calm and joy.

Family dynamics and drama cause holiday stress for many adults and children with ADHD. Extended family members may offer unsolicited advice, pass judgment on your children, and dismiss your needs, all of which can trigger emotional dysregulation.

Your best bet? Develop a plan of action before a family gathering for what to do when you feel triggered and need emotional support from a partner. And don’t forget to include your kids in the conversation. Understanding how and why certain relatives irritate your child will help you to anticipate tough spots and redirect quickly.

In this download, you will get tips on how to navigate family dynamics by setting boundaries, keep intense emotions in check, and best support your immediate family members during holiday gatherings with tips such as:

  • Practice self-agency. Focus on what you can control, like leaving the room.
  • Phone a friend. Pre-plan to message a friend with a code word that signals you need her help. When she calls or texts in response, excuse yourself to listen or respond to the message.
  • Have an honest conversation with your partner in advance and ask, “What can we do to help each other feel safe and at ease during the holiday season?”
  • Don’t take out your frustrationson your partner. Say: “I’m not mad at you. I’m frustrated with the situation.”
  • Encourage your child to take a timeout when they feel overwhelmed.
  • Plan firm but kind responses to use when relatives cross personal boundaries.
  • Notice when your kids help with tasks and show initiative. Offer a high-five, a thumbs-up, a hug, or thanks to encourage more positive behaviors.
  • And more!

NOTE: This resource is for personal use only.