Despite feel-good messages from television, billboards and online ads, holidays are a source of conflict for millions of people. It's not uncommon to see a friend discuss an upcoming family visit with eye-rolling or deep sighs.
Families are complicated. Our feelings toward individual members can change from boredom to affection to outrage in a matter of minutes.
Many adult children dread the prospect of seeing their parents at the holidays. There may be unresolved feelings from their childhoods, and even a close relationship with a parent might become strained by the parent's divorce or remarriage, infirmity or neediness. A parent's direct or indirect disapproval of the adult child's sexuality, choice of partner, parenting practices or job choices can also bring tension for the adult child.