Skip to main content

268: Prevent Judgey Relatives from Hijacking Your Holiday

The holiday season is a time for making lovely, warm memories, and nothing pours cold water on holiday cheer faster than other adults judging you for the way your kids behave. This week’s episode is a throwback to one of my most powerful tools to build up your confidence, keep judgment in perspective, and short-circuit the defensiveness before you take it out on your kids. Listen to help you make family memories that last, at the holidays and any time.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  1. The surprisingly relatable place where judging other parents comes from.
  2. Tips to help you let go of your triggered feelings and empathize with the judgey person instead of reacting negatively.
  3. How the quest for perfection sets us up for disappointment in our kids and ourselves.

And much more! 

As always, thanks for listening. Head over to Facebook, where you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community. We post tips and tools and do pop-up Live conversations where I do extra teaching and coaching to support you in helping your strong-willed children so that they can FEEL better and DO better. If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it!


About Randi Rubenstein

Randi Rubenstein helps parents with a strong-willed kiddo become a happier family and enjoy the simple things again like bike rides and beach vacays.

She’s the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap. Randi works with parents across the U.S.

At Mastermind Parenting, we believe every human deserves to have a family that gets along.

Randi’s Web and Social Links

Links & Resources

Thanks so much for listening to the Mastermind Parenting podcast, where we support the strong willed child and the families that love them!

If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the share button in the podcast player above.

Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher.


[00:00:00] Randi Rubenstein: My name is Randi Rubenstein, and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast. At Mastermind Parenting, we’re on a mission to support strong-willed kids and the families that love them. 

[00:00:11] So today’s episode I’m calling Mastermind Parenting tool to prevent judgy relatives from hijacking your holiday. And, what I’m including is a Facebook live where I taught, uh, a great tool. And I talked about being around the Thanksgiving table and having the judgy relatives say things about whatever your kids were doing, which is probably normal kid behavior, but just having that judgment sort of in your face on your shoulder and how it feels terrible for all of us. And so I gave a strategy for how to bubble wrap yourself and protect yourself from allowing other people’s negativity to hijack your holiday. 

[00:00:57] And so maybe it’s, it is around a holiday table, but maybe it’s just a Friday night dinner with your extended family or a Sunday night dinner or, a visit with the grandparents, whatever it is. Or maybe it’s just with another family whose kids seem to be behaving air quotes perfectly, and your kids are the ones…

[00:01:18] We used to laugh all the time because my daughter had a best friend when she was little and I would take them to get ice cream and I would look at the best friend and I would say, why do you look like that eating ice cream? And then I would point to Avery and Avery would have like chocolate ice cream all over her entire face, and we would laugh about it. And then they got to be in high school and this friend is a grade older than her and just went off to college and she wrote a journalism piece as a senior in high school and Avery was a junior and it was, it was all about that. and so anyway, we would laugh about it. 

[00:01:52] But I for sure was like doing the comparison thing, but doing it in jest. And quite often, I think we sort of do the opposite. We see the child without the chocolate ice cream all over their face. You know, the, the child who maybe is a little more reserved than our kids. And we make it mean that they’re more civilized or they’re more something. And quite often it’ll cause us to then be harder on our kids. 

[00:02:20] Like, well, have a napkin. Like I never was have a napkin. I was always just sort of enjoying that she was enjoying ice cream so much, but I think quite often we do the opposite. So, this Facebook live, I think you guys are going to, um, learn some really great mindset strategies, tips, and tools. And I think a lot of you guys are going to relate, so I wanted to include it here on the podcast. So enjoy. 

[00:02:45] Hi guys. It’s Randi. I was just thinking about y’all and I thought, you know what I think I’m going to do some training to support you guys in having a successful holiday I’ve been hearing from a lot of parents, it just brings up a lot. It’s, everybody’s off of work and there’s all this buildup and maybe you’re traveling out of town or relatives are coming in and then we find ourselves in all of these triggered moments. And what seems to trigger most of us is when we feel like there’s that judgment coming in from other adults.

[00:03:25] Okay. So a lot of times it might be coming from well-intended grandparents or in laws or your siblings or your sibling’s spouses, what have you. But I think that this is common. And so I wanted to give you guys this arsenal of tools that will bubble wrap you in the right head space so that you don’t allow that judgment to sort of take you off your A game. You know, cause whenever any of us are feeling judged, we’re going to feel triggered. Uh, nobody likes to be judged. No one. it just, it doesn’t feel good. 

[00:04:04] So when you feel judged and let’s say your kids are running around and they’re acting crazy or they say something that, you know, it’s just not the thing that you’re going to like put a post out on Facebook. It’s not your most brag worthy kid moment. And then you have all of these witnesses around and you feel like you’re being judged and before you know it, you find yourself sort of making a big deal out of things that really aren’t a big deal. Because you’re feeling judged, you go into your emotional brain and you say things, you do see things that you wish you hadn’t done. Then you have a kid that’s melting down more and it doesn’t turn out to be that memorable holiday that you were hoping for. 

[00:04:43] So that’s what we’re talking about today. And what I like to teach parents is that 

[00:04:48] these problems are actually not problems. They’re just opportunities. And so when you start to shift your mindset, you start to learn that there are opportunities to notice why you’re getting triggered by all these little things. To get curious about yourself, to get curious about your kids and why they’re not cooperating. It’s an opportunity to start figuring out why what you’re doing isn’t working, right? It’s an opportunity to learn something new because to do the same thing over and over and over again and to expect different results is literally the definition of insanity.

[00:05:28] So when you have these little problems show up in your life and you see them as opportunities and you start to get curious, and you start to open yourself up to learn new methods and a new way, You start to grow, and you start to take control back in your life. 

[00:05:49] And you see this as an opportunity to learn new things. To expand your mind. 

[00:05:55] And ultimately what that brings is a sense of freedom so that you can feel like you’re able to have more fun in your life. Because all these little energy zapping moments. It’s not that fun. It’s not that fun to walk around feeling exhausted because you can’t get out the door with your kid and your kid won’t cooperate and nothing you’re doing is working like that’s not a very fun life.

[00:06:19] And what I’m here to tell you is that when you start to learn these new things and see problems as opportunities and master your mind, that’s the name mastermind parenting, you start to have more fun. And you start to be more fun to be around, frankly.

[00:06:37] Okay, so I’m going to teach you guys this tool of the day, and it’s called the Q tip. And it’s going to help you, it’s literally going to like bubble wrap you when you’re sitting at that Thanksgiving table, um, and you feel the judgment come because your kids aren’t being perfect. Okay, your kids are being kids and they’re being human and you have some relative say some snarky freaking annoying thing and they’re judging you and they’re judging your kid. And this is what’s going to bubble wrap you so that you let it roll off your back and you don’t take it out on your kids and you’re able to have a special holiday and make beautiful memories with your kids rather than letting some relative snarky comment hijack your holiday. Really. Like, we’re not doing that. Okay?

[00:07:34] So, the Q tip. Quit taking it personally. Okay? Quit taking it personally. Number one, you have to control your thinking, quit taking it personally. What do I mean by that? 

[00:07:50] So what I’ve learned about judgment is that it’s actually always a self projection in some way. Anybody who’s showing up and saying some snarky, annoying thing to you, they’re judging themselves. 

[00:08:05] How are they judging themselves? Well, just like you they want to be a good parent, right? Just like you, they want to think that they did it well. Okay? Everybody wants validation that the way they’re doing it or the way they did it is the right way. And so anytime anybody says anything…

[00:08:29] Like, happy people don’t go around spreading misery. Happy people don’t make snarky comments. Confident people who know that the way they did it was great and feel confident in that and imperfect and there is no perfect, they don’t go around constantly making snarky comments to bring other people down. 

[00:08:50] So anyone making those comments ultimately they want validation that they were a good parent or that the way they’re doing it is good or the right way. 

[00:09:00] And it’s actually like they’re showing you their poker hand that they feel sort of insecure about the way they did things or they still feel insecure about the way they’re doing things. Because all that judgment and comparison is just BS, and anybody who gets it knows it’s not helpful, and it doesn’t feel good for anyone involved. 

[00:09:23] So the only thing you can control. 

[00:09:25] You’re going to waste your energy, um, making some snarky comment back or defending the way you do things or trying to teach them something new. It’s all a waste of energy. The only thing you actually have control over is your thinking.

[00:09:39] So when you start to have control over your own thoughts, then you choose to make the other person’s comment mean something about them and not something about you. Okay? So you only have control over your own thinking and what you think in that moment when the judgment’s coming at you is, this is not about me, this is about them. This is not about me, this is about them. 

[00:10:08] Because that’s the truth. Remember, I say this to my kids all the time, when some kids make some shitty comment to them. I’m like, think about it. Happy people don’t go around spreading misery when somebody makes a shitty comment to you, it’s because they feel shitty on the inside. And so we make up a story in our head that it really actually means something about us because they’re hurling it our way.

[00:10:31] But when we control our own thinking, we can sit there and like, let it roll off. And we, we don’t match that negative vibe. Like it, all it’s going to happen is it’s like game on. And now we’ve given that snarky, miserable person an outlet to argue and fight and to bring all this negativity and tension to the table. We’re not doing that. We’re not doing that. 

[00:10:53] Happy people don’t spread misery. So control your thinking. Don’t let the other person control the situation and bring you down into that negative space. 

[00:11:03] Okay. Number two, I want you to notice what’s happening in your body when you’re triggered. Okay. So let’s say the person says something to you. I mean, it’s like right like somebody says like, oh my gosh I would never have let my kids behave like that. What are those table manners? You know, just whatever stupid thing. And or your kids like whatever. Maybe you ask your your teenager a question they’re like, I don’t know whatever. And then you have some relative saying I would oh my goodness. Wow So, you know, I, I can’t imagine a child behaving or saying that kind of having that kind of tone with their parent, you know, they say something like that and you start to feel yourself, you start to get hot, right?

[00:11:52] And there’s a reason because when we go into that triggered state, we go into this emotional space in our brain where we’re not thinking clearly anymore. And our heart rate speeds up, and you may notice that your heart starts, starts pounding. You start to get hot. The blood is literally leaving your head and going to your extremities. And there’s a whole reason that that happens, but notice where you’re feeling it in your body. 

[00:12:14] And then you want to, y’all are going to want to punch me in the face for this, but I’m telling you, it works. Like we have this amazing access to something called the breath and it. It moves you up in your brain. So when you notice that your heart starts to race, you start to get hot. You’re maybe sweating a little bit, like I sweat a little bit under my arms. So you start to notice those sensations in your body. That’s your trigger. That’s your real trigger to take a deep breath. So you take a deep, deep breath.

[00:12:43] If you don’t do yoga… if you do yoga, it’s your jolly breath and it’s a deep inhale to the count of four, pause at the top and a deep, slow exhale, literally three deep breaths. Nobody even needs to know that you’re doing it. You don’t need to do it like in yoga class where it sounds like Darth Vader. You can do it without anyone noticing and it just helps you to keep your cool so you stay in control of your own thinking. 

[00:13:07] And then you want to sort of empathize, right? Like in your brain. You’re breathing and then you’re just like looking at the situation from the other person’s point of view. So you really want like a mantra in your head, something like, um, like we all just want to raise good people. We all just want to raise good people. 

[00:13:26] In your head, you’re just coaching yourself. Because the only thing you have control over is your own thinking. So you might as well take this moment and this opportunity to let it roll over, roll off your back by coaching yourself and saying like, we all just want to raise good people. We all just want to raise good people. And remembering, this other person judging you, they just want validation that the way they did it was the right way or the way they’re doing it is the right way because we all really want the same thing. 

[00:13:56] And so if it’s maybe your parents or your in laws that are judging you, they see you doing it differently than they did. And so in some way, what they really want to hear from you in that moment is that they did a good job. They see you doing something and it’s almost like their ego comes online like, well, what was the wrong way? We didn’t, we didn’t do things so shabby. You turned out just fine. You know, everybody forgets all the hard moments, and so they want validation that they didn’t do such a poor job. 

[00:14:26] But all you can do in those moments is just kind of like, manage your own mind, master your own mind, stay in the driver’s seat, breathe, say a mantra, and remember, when you quit taking it personally… because it’s really never personal, even when it feels very personal, it’s always a self projection. Then, you stay in the driver’s seat, and you don’t end up saying things to your kids, or doing things that are gonna exhaust you, and take you off your A game and have you not enjoying your holiday as much as possible. 

[00:15:03] So I don’t know if this is resonating with you guys, um, but I know the holidays can be a little stressful. I know that that judgment piece, we want our kids to be on best behavior. And so sometimes we bring an element of stress and all of these kind of unrealistic expectations to the table, and it’s just not very fun for anyone. 

[00:15:26] It’s not fun for our kids. We’re not making positive memories when we show up as this tense, worried person who’s just like, you guys, don’t do anything or say anything that is gonna, you know, make us look bad. Like that whole attitude, it’s just too much pressure for everyone. 

[00:15:45] Versus showing up being your awesome selves, enjoying each other, not having this unrealistic view of, you know, this perfectionistic thinking that you’re trying to impress everyone, and you’re just being warm and loving and friendly and having a good holiday. 

[00:16:02] It helps you to focus on what really matters versus worrying so much about everyone, behaving and looking and being so perfect. Because that’s really the point of the holidays. So, that’s what I’ve got for you guys and, um, would love to know if you found this helpful.

[00:16:21] Thanks for listening today, guys. I hope you picked up some tips, tools, maybe some baby steps for creating more balance and boundaries in your life. And I just wanted to let you know, if you want to continue moving the needle forward in creating this for yourself, having a happier household, I want you to go to my website and check out We have three beginning programs, and if you need some accountability and more support then please look for the one that would be a good fit for you.

[00:16:56] And, as always, we’re on all the social channels under mastermind parenting, on Instagram it’s mastermind_parenting. And, you know, periodically I do pop up on different Instagram lives, Facebook lives where I give you teaching and coaching and I love engaging with you live to help you help your strong-willed kids so that they can feel better, because when they feel better they do better, and I love, love, love getting to know you guys. 

[00:17:29] So thanks for listening. If you like this podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review. Super super appreciative

Happy Household Cover

Sign Up for Our Newsletter and Get Our Free Guide

Creating A Happier Household

by Randi Rubenstein