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Thanksgiving with relatives: Tame parenting performance anxiety

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(Read caption) Thanksgiving with family doesn't have to be a parenting nightmare. Here, Cooper Bourret races a turkey to the finish line at the Huffing for Stuffing Thanksgiving Day Run in Bozeman, Mont. last year.

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Holidays bring stress when families get together. How will my children do; what will my family think about my parenting?

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If you are a connective parent, you know the pressure from the outside to conform to traditional parenting styles. If your children are not behaving perfectly, it's because you're letting them get away with it, you're not strict enough. "What he needs is some discipline. He needs to know who's boss. Are you going to let him get away with that?"  

When that pressure is on, you get tongue-tied, feel inadequate, and don't have a leg to stand on. You buy into the criticism because, let's face it, you're not 100 percent confident of yourself, especially when faced with the disapproval of one of your parents or in-laws. You question yourself, get stressed out, your child reacts to your tension, you snap and the cycle spins. Things that work at home suddenly do not. Children get confused and anxious – all hell breaks loose. 


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