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Christmas with Adult Kids: 4 ways to prioritize connection over perfection

Make this Christmas with adult kids one to remember.

Your adult kids are coming home for Christmas, and you’re hoping for that nostalgic holiday magic, just like when they were younger. But they’ve changed, and so will your Christmas.

Psychologist Dr. Tom Golightly shares how to relieve the pressure for a perfect Christmas by emphasizing one goal: reconnecting.


4 Ways to Navigate Christmas with Adult Kids

The Expectation Conundrum

Tom highlights an issue many parents face—unspoken expectations. During the “Come Home Experience,” there’s a desire to recreate traditions and cram everything into a few days. However, by trying to relive the past, we miss out on opportunities to simply enjoy being together.

Connection, Not Overdoing

The primary focus remains on connection. Tom says families should take a step back from exhaustive plans and instead enjoy the moments spent together. He stresses the need to adapt and anticipate changes in our adult children, acknowledging that it’s all part of their growth process.

Scheduling with Understanding

Setting expectations before your kids arrive is crucial. Communicate non-negotiables from both ends and understand that young adults may have their plans and need time to unwind. Prioritizing a couple of key family events can help strike a balance.

Evolving Parental Roles

As parents, our roles evolve. Tom suggests being a “chief consultant” without voting power on their decisions. It’s about inviting connection, listening without judgment, and asking questions that dig deeper into their lives.

Reacting to Scenarios

Brooke and Tom play a little game: “Back in the Nest: Holiday Edition.” Tom navigates various scenarios, emphasizing the importance of compromise and understanding. From handling changed traditions to managing overwhelming family gatherings or coaxing an adult child to open up, the key lies in patience and gradual engagement.

Tom’s advice boils down to fostering an environment of understanding, flexibility, and patience during the holiday season. It’s about embracing change, maintaining traditions where possible, and, above all, nurturing connections with our adult children.

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