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How to handle mom drama during the holidays

Lisa Steinke, with Liz Fenton, is the co-author of the debut chick lit novel l'll Have Who She's Having and the popular Chick Lit blog chicklitisnotdead.com.

When Mom and Grandma don't get along

Your daughter has been begging to see Grandma and wants to know not if — but when — she’s coming over for the holidays.

But you and your mother haven’t exactly been getting along and the idea of setting a place for her at the holiday dinner table makes you more than a little anxious. So how should you handle your drama with your mom without hurting your kids?

Parenting is all about those three Ss: Sacrifices, selflessness and sucking it up. So, you can probably see where we're going with this. You and your mom are most likely going to have to put your differences aside during the holidays. But before you start imagining a scenario where you're singing "Kumbayah" by the fire, relax, because you don't necessarily need to be present when she spends time with your child.

It's so not about you... especially during the holidays

"Holidays are a time where nerves are frayed and cracks in relationships are more evident than ever," says life coach Shari Goldsmith. "So here's the deal: Is it unhealthy for your daughter to spend time with your mother? If the answer is no, then the change has to all come from you. This is one of those things that you are going to have to search deep down in your soul and find the patience to make this happen."

Keep your kids connected with their grandparents >>

Your child's memories are important

Remember that thing about "sucking it up" that you read earlier? Now's the time to do it.

"The holidays should not be about you and things that are irritating about your parents. It should be about a time where family can be together for a time and cultivate good memories," stresses David Simonsen, M.S. LMF.

"I think a parent should do two things. First, I think the parent should put their children first and think about the memories of the holiday. This would mean making things right with the grandparents even if they don't want to. Secondly, if a parent can't make things right, I think you still invite the grandparents over and bite your tongue," adds Simonsen.

There is a teaching moment

Biting your tongue — especially when it's your mom doing all the talking — can be easier said than done. But if you can, this can be a chance to teach your child something important.

Dr. Ramani Durvasula says, "It is also a wonderful way to model good behavior to your own kids (they do what we do) — even if it feels hard especially if your parent is lobbing criticism your way — teach your child about grace, manners and decorum by treating your own mother well and not taking the bait when offered. Your drama with your mom is not your child's problem — so take the high road and don't make it his or her problem."

More tips for a stress-free holiday

Top ways to have a drama-free holiday
Prep yourself for the stress of the season
Holiday-stress? 10 Ways to relax and enjoy the season

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