All families have their holiday traditions. For those of us who plan for a full family get-together over an extravagant holiday feast, there may be a surprise in store when our grown kids head for home. They may bring a new love interest, someone who may be a possible new partner in their life. Or they may use the family setting to announce a commitment to someone you've already met.
Amidst all the tumult of various family members pouring through the doors and taking up residence on the sofa, how do we deal with our child and their guest who may become an important person in our lives?
Writing in Psychology Today, Jane Adams has some pertinent advice. It starts with this important point: By bringing someone home and incorporating them into the family tradition, they're not asking for your permission or even your blessing.
Here's Adams' fuller expansion on that point:
The holidays, which often reunite far-flung kith and kin under one roof for celebratory rituals, are a popular season for couples presenting a ring or otherwise committing to a relationship with a future, whether or not an engagement or marriage is formally announced....
Although a blessing would be nice, it's not required. Young adults aren't really asking, they're telling. Their closed circle is opening up enough to admit you, unless you express your doubts, concerns, or misgivings. They don't want your judgments, they're not asking for your advice or opinion, and unless or until they do, keep it to yourself. Maybe you don't see what they see in him or her, but you don't have to, although there's nothing wrong with saying, "Tell me what you love about them," or even asking, "When did you know this was It?" not in a challenging tone but a gently curious one.
Her final piece of holiday advice:
Grab the newest member of your family, get them under the mistletoe, and plant one on them—after all, it's a blessed time to open your heart as wide as you can.