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How to Approach Mom's Negativity This Thanksgiving

Judie Rappaport
November 18, 2014

Dear Judie, 


My 14-member family enjoys spending Thanksgiving Day together—except for my parents. They have had marriage and medical problems for decades and seem to get energy from making everyone else miserable. Mom can’t go twenty minutes without saying to someone, “You look terrible, marriage problems?” or “How’s the dead-end job?” or “Still not married? Time’s running out, you’re not getting any younger.” We’ve told her she’s hurtful, but she hasn’t changed. What’s the answer?

- Patty, Stuart


Dear Patty,


You and your family have been targets at this turkey shoot for too long. After decades of thoughtlessness, its unlikely mom will simply agree to stop. You can ignore her barbs by controlling the conversation. When mom says “You’re not getting any younger” a family member should immediately jump in with a different question using the same subject contained in her cruel remark: “Speaking of older, I read that in 2010 there may be over 200,000 centenarians in the U.S. Okay, who wants to live to be 100?” The conversation will naturally flow to why someone does or doesn’t want to reach 100. If mom objects to the subject change, explain, “Sorry, mom, we decided to hear only positive remarks today.”



Judie Rappaport, President & Founder
Preferred Lifestyle Services

Trust Yourself. You Have the Knowledge, Insight,
and Power to make the right decisions for you and your parent. ©


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