How to Ensure That Your Rules Are Followed During Holiday Social Time

Have you been enjoying the holidays? Are you visiting with family, getting together with friends and spending more social time than your usual routine allows?  It's been a blast, right?

This is a time of year for happiness, cheer, love and gratitude. While I do hope that you had lots of that, I wonder: Were there some moments that were a bit tense because a big being overstepped a line with your small being?

Perhaps you told your small being not to have any more sweets and then five minutes later a well-meaning grandparent handed your small being another cookie.

Even with the best of intentions, family members can enable challenging behaviors.

Below are my top five ways to negotiate power dynamics with other big beings in relation to your small being(s). Use them during the holidays and anytime your small being is in the company of big beings.

1 – Be proactive! If there are specific behavioral goals or family rules on which you are focused (for instance, using polite words such as "please" and "thank you"), then let others know about them.  When visiting family be upfront about your expectations for your small being's behavior and ask them to hold the same behavioral standard.

2 – Be Positive! Just like I suggest that you point out the moments that your small being behaves well, you should also be generous with kudos to big beings. Give thanks to your sister for not letting your small beings watch ANOTHER movie or to your parents for not giving them a seventh treat, even though they really wanted to!

3 – Be confidant and step in when needed: In the moment when your small being is not meeting your behavioral standard – even if other big beings are okay with the not-so-great behavior – you must intervene. Step in and request that your small being instead engages in amazing behavior. For example, you don’t let your small being wrestle in the house, yet an older cousin is having lots of fun “play fighting” with your small being. If this is making the hair on the back of your neck stand up because you know that it will lead to problems later, then stop the game.  Don’t let someone else used the tired excuse, “Oh, it’s okay, we're just having fun."  If you know this behavior is not good for your small being, then speak up!

4 – Be a model:  Demonstrate for the other big beings what it looks like to uphold the behavioral expectations you have for your small being. Show them what you're focusing on and how to be most successful with your small being.  Make sure this includes how you shower your small being with positive reinforcement and fun activities.

5 – Be consistent:  Some big beings will simply want to spoil your small being and throw the rules out the window.  While you may make exceptions on special occasions, you don’t have to.  In the same way that you need to be consistent with your small being, you need to be consistent with big beings. (Tweet) Remind them of the goals you're setting with your small being and consistently reiterate how they can help you accomplish these goals. The repetition will be a reminder of the importance of these goals. You can do it!


Ultimately, you know what's best for your small being and all your friends and family are simply doing their best to have fun with your small being. It may take some work and patience on your end, but the extra effort will pay off when you see your small being thriving!

Ideas into Action!

What is one time that you drew a line with a big being about the rules for your small being? What was it like for you? What was the outcome?


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