FAMILIES have been offered top tips about how to avoid conflicts with loved ones at Christmas.
Every year across Scotland, 4,145 young people become homeless due to relationship breakdowns - the biggest single cause of youth homelessness annually.
A Meltdown Before Christmas event on Monday afternoon will feature interactive puppets, Christmas spirit and Santa hats - and will also carry a serious message that arguments can lead to increased stress, impact on mental health and well-being - and at worst, result in family breakdown.
The event is being hosted by Cyrenians’ Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution.
Diane Marr, Cyrenians’ SCCR network development manager, said: “Christmas can be a great time for families, but it can also be a nightmare and it’s often a time of real stress and conflict.
“Instead of the night before Christmas, it can be a case of the meltdown before Christmas.”
She added: “We wanted to give families a chance to think about this before the big day. Often by talking about what might potentially cause a meltdown, we can think about how to deal with these situations. We’ll look at learning some new ways to tackle these differently and think about what happens in our brains and bodies during and after an argument.
“Having a better understanding of this means we can learn to be kinder to each other, add a bit of Christmas cheer, and have healthier and happier relationships at this special time of year.”
Organisers have given out five top tips to avoid arguments at Christmas.
• Have a compassionate Christmas by planning on giving toys and unwanted clothing away. You can explain to the family that the donated items can go to people or families that may have less or nothing at Christmas so you’re also helping Santa out.
• Turn festive talks that have to be completed for your big Christmas day into a game for the whole family. Remember to encourage people to volunteer rather than assigning them tasks.
• Plan your way out of Christmas conflict by having a discussion about what people would like to do, what they want to watch and when they might want some quiet time. Think about planning a walk for the morning or the afternoon.
• Rather than spending lots of money to make someone happy, remember that it’s not only the thought but the feeling of giving and receiving that makes Christmas special.
• Keep it real - even Santa knows there’s no such thing as a perfect Christmas.
For more information, visit www.scottishconflictresolution.org.uk/events.