If you can't avoid the situation, Haberkorn said to calm down and "take a breath."
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Don't wait until the holidays to deal
Instead of trying to avoid problems, try dealing with them head-on, Carpenter suggested.
"If it's a situation that has some history to it, you might want to think about mediation before the event," he said.
He estimated that about 85 to 90 percent of the cases handled by the Washington County Community Mediation Center are personal relationships. Mediation at the center is free, but an appointment is needed.
Change of plans
For certain families, holidays seem to be a trigger for all things wrong. In those cases, it might be better to arrange a different day to visit, or maybe not visit at all.
"Take care of yourself," Lichti said. "It might not be a magical holiday."
If you want help ...
- Psychologist Lou Lichti with City Park Psychological Services can be reached at 301-733-3130, ext. 1, or firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.drlou.net.
- To make an appointment with the Washington County Mediation Center, call 301-665-9232, or email email@example.com, or go to www.wccmc.org.
- The Rev. Susan A. Haberkorn with Mercy Counseling and Coaching of Hagerstown can be reached evenings and Saturdays at 301-797-6645 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.mercycounseling.com.