Avoiding fights on family holidays

Family holidays can be the cause of some nightmarish rows. Photo / iStock
Family holidays can be the cause of some nightmarish rows. Photo / iStock

With Easter approaching, thousands of New Zealanders will be preparing for a family holiday.

Several work-free days surrounded by your nearest and dearest will create happy memories for a lifetime... but they can also provide nightmarish rows.

Fortunately though, help is at hand in the form of author and behaviour expert Judi James, who has revealed to MailOnline Travel the traps that families fall into and how to avoid them.

Judi explains that families often argue more because they have unrealistic expectations of what the trip will be like.

She said: "Holidays can be a bit like Christmas, we have an over inflated expectation that everything will be idyllic.

"We also have a history of selfishness around these moments as we think holidays are about us - we think we should be having a good time and relaxing rather than thinking that the holiday is a team effort.

"We manage our relationships depending on how busy we are and then suddenly we assume that seeing lots of the people we love will be better, but we actually find that we discover their more annoying traits."

So how can we avoid holiday fights? Judi explains here:

Plan for peace

Judi said: You need to actually strategically plan for peace.

Identify the fact that there will be these huge flashpoints and find ways to avoid them because what usually happens is that people secretly plan for the war. They plan for what they'll do if little Jimmy dares to do so and so, which is just harvesting irritation.

We even set traps. You can see people at the airport waiting for the first whinge, waiting for auntie to say what she usually says. Instead, you should identify when it happens and then try avoidance techniques.

Act like you would do with work colleagues

Use the skills you'd use at work, things like team-building and negotiation.

People go on holiday to get away from things like that but it is often when you need it the most.

Think about who will create good teams and start negotiations before you go away, for example, give people notebooks and get them to say what they want to do the most on holiday.

People forget that teens go on holidays to pull partners and older people might not want to go on the beach, so they end up dragging young people around doing awful things that your parents used to do to you as a kid.

Build up anticipation

It is important to build anticipation. We enjoy holidays the most when there is a sense of anticipation about going back to a favourite restaurant or visiting a place you have been reading about.

Kids love anticipation, they'll go in the middle of a field with three goats and enjoy it if you have built it up.

Try not to let one person dominate

There will always be some alpha character in a family group who is adamant that everybody has to be in a good mood and nothing puts people in a bad mood more quickly than that.

Don't say "you look miserable" because parents have a knack of doing that to their kids, which makes being cheerful impossible.

Kids will cheer up but not if you identify it - you lose face if you cheer up when someone tells you to.

Everyone who goes on holiday has probably spent a lot of time being dominant in their own world, at work, at school or wherever. Then suddenly you all get together and have a different pecking order.

So it's important to give everyone that bit of respect that they get in their own lives.

Be flexible with timings

Often someone gets in a bad mood because timing goes wrong.

Timings are always the first problem, so always make yourself very time easy by over allotting timings with people.

Plan games to keep it fun

You know people will get bored travelling, so be some sort of games organiser but also get the kids organising games before leaving.

Put the kids in charge of games as they love to be in charge of things.

Negotiate iPhone usage before the trip

A big irritation is that kids become welded to iPhones and don't want to communicate.

There needs to be a very heavy negotiation way before you go on this - often people don't say anything until they get there and then they have a go.

A couple of weeks before you go, everyone needs to sit down and have a negotiation discussion.

Instead of telling someone off about how much they are on their phones, say "we love your company and want to make the most of that". There's a way of saying it in a flattering loving way.

- Daily Mail

- Daily Mail

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