Semester, bråk i familjen – hjälp!

Holidays, trouble in the family - help!

High expectations easily lead to disappointment, do we recognize that? At the same time, those approximately ten weeks are sacred to many. The summer is short. And your vacation is probably even shorter. Of course we want to maximize! It doesn't even have to mean expensive trips and well-planned excursions. But we kind of see some kind of harmonious brilliance when we see those holy summer days ahead – the kids scrambling around and sort of collecting rocks, playing with bugs and catching a crab. When that harmony does not occur at all and quarrels in the family (help) arise, it easily becomes a clash in us. They wouldn't be sitting with a screen 24/7?! We actually decided that!

"They weren't supposed to sit with a screen 24/7? We actually decided that!"

Resolve conflicts in the family

The above scenario is just one of countless similar ones that pave the way for the infamous holiday conflicts. The desire for divorce, for example, often comes during long-term leave.

Is that what happens, what becomes a crash? Expectations that don't match reality?

Then the next question is (at least for me): should I not have any expectations at all then? Setting the bar so low that absolutely nothing will be a disappointment and that I even manage to feed the children during the day a triumph? How fun does that sound? We must be able to dream a little, plan in that summery we long for the rest of the year but at the same time not have to bathe in conflicts the whole holiday..?

What is a conflict? Upon quick Googling, Wikipedia says: “Conflict means a meeting between things that are not compatible. The word conflict comes from the Latin word conflictus which means collision, to collide, to come into conflict.

But wishes, feelings and opinions are (and should be!) different. That is, automatically incompatible? In a family, conflicts are thus quite inevitable.

In other words, how we handle them and how they affect us and the family dynamic is what we should focus on. Not to dream of a conflict-free life without quarrels in the family.

Further searching says that we can actually plan for how to take the conflicts this summer. Many psychologists write that we should have a plan. Firstly, we should talk to each other before the holiday. This is of course easier the older the children are. Talk about expectations and work out how you all feel about the leave. Maybe someone wants to go on an adventure every other day and another is happy with a book in a hammock. Add x number of emotions and desires into that equation and the conflict is a fact.

Because of course it's easy to take for granted that everyone else also wants to have fun and a lot of action throughout the holiday if you're like that yourself? Hammock I might not have been able to do for five minutes...

So talk about the expectations and try to be respectful of the other's wishes. Sometimes we have to meet in the middle and sometimes we can split up. That everyone will like everything at the same time will not happen.

Plan for conflicts in the family

Planning for the unexpected and having backup plans can also be a good idea. Renting a small cottage with an outhouse can be super lovely if the sun is shining and all that stuff that belongs to our dear image of what a holiday should look like. But if it's ten degrees and raining all the time, something else is probably required of the adults. Sitting indoors, sort of on top of each other, in 30 square meters for four weeks can be ripe for conflict. It can also be the best thing ever, but possibly requires a plan. (There are many of us who are "good" at falling into situations and having to reorganize the whole situation in a small panic - it is not recommended..even though it can be fun too..sometimes).

Perhaps we should also think a little that in the way we live today - where everyone in the family does things in different places, sometimes most of the day, it will be a huge adjustment to suddenly be all under the same roof, most of the day ( as there are too many during the summer). To think that it should pass without friction feels a little crazy. It can be good (for some) to break that togetherness from time to time. Don't get completely caught up in the fact that you in the family have to sit together suddenly, from perhaps barely having seen each other. Review your needs and take it based on that. I'm pretty sure most families include members with both more and less social needs. Don't assume that everyone wants and needs the same.


Making yourself visible can also be a good idea. Are we always aware of our own expectations or do they just go along with it? I think many of us make unconscious demands on both ourselves and our children. We associate "demands" with something hard and strict, while at the same time we see ourselves as so open and permissive. But I think requirements can come in many different forms! That the children should suddenly have forgotten what a screen is and be happy with the little things is also a requirement, based on what we live in. That everyone should just scrap around and be generally harmonious is a requirement. Cooking delicious ("simple") summer food every day is a requirement. And if we don't meet the requirements, we will be disappointed. It looks so easy in the mind. The undemanding life we expect from the holidays contains surprisingly many demands, I think...

Planning, lowering the bar and understanding the needs of others (and one's own!) are the watchwords I find when looking for the solution to a holiday with fewer conflicts. But of course it's easy to be both prescient and hindsight. Talking, however, I think can almost never be wrong. There will be quarrels in the family. In that mini-storp without a toilet, with rain every day and a thousand missed baths - create a little more understanding for each other and take the opportunity to practice recognizing and telling about things you feel. Our emotional cards are the best help on the trot if you ask us (and thousands of families!)