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How to avoid family drama during your Thanksgiving festivities

Dr. Shelly Middleton has several tips that can make you more thankful for your family.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Is anybody else just a little stressed out as we prepare to gather round with family on Thanksgiving?

Family drama hits everyone a little different. If you’re lucky, there’s no drama in your family. However, it’s like to come up. And you can't avoid your family or the drama forever…or can you?

For those of us who can’t, Dr. Shelly Middleton, a licensed marriage and family therapist with The Davis Group, has some tips to help us cope.

"People know what their triggers are and those triggers usually come from family,” Middleton said. “Mom knows just what to say or your dad knows just what to say."

That’s why the doctor suggests you go into family gatherings with a plan in place to combat those sticky situations.

"If you know your mom is going to bring up the fact that you're still single or anything like that, once you hear your mom about to mention it just take some space,” Middleton said. “Say something like 'Oh, I'm going to go get another glass of water or another glass of wine.’ That way you can remove yourself from the situation for a second. When you immediately react, it's going to be that emotional response that you don’t want. When you step away, you allow your emotional brain to quiet down, so when you come back, it's not going to hit you as hard."

Another tip? Try to be as Zen as possible and you can do that by maintaining a workout routine prior to seeing family.

“If you run in the morning or if you work out in the morning, have a plan to still do that when you go back home," Middleton said.

The next step to avoid the holiday drama may not be popular, but it could save you from being involved in a dramatic scene. Skip the extra drinks.

"When you have something like alcohol in your system, it's a lot harder to not have self-control and to have that emotional reaction," Middleton said.

It’s nearly impossible to avoid family stress, however, the doctor says if you go into the family dinner mindful of the situation that you’re facing, that could help you in the situation. And if that doesn’t work, just leave.

"The best thing to do would be to remove yourself from the situation because you can't control other people, but you can control yourself and how your experience goes,” Middleton said.



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