Do you end up dreading family vacations or get-togethers because your parents or siblings judge you? Do you stay on edge worried that your kids are going to misbehave, break something or be too loud for your uptight family? Here are 5 ways to discipline your children; be respectful of relatives; and keep judgment, embarrassment and false expectations from stealing your peace.

1. Be honest and be confident. There’s no need to sugarcoat reality—you happen to have more intense, emotional kids. Good. They will rule the world one day. You’re not a bad parent because your kids are more brilliant, passionate and like to think outside the box. You’re just more stressed and have more grey hair  J

2. Be assertive. Tell other people what you and your family needs. “Ryan and Samantha get really wound up when there are so many people around. So when you guys go out, we may stay here and have some down time. I know dinner time is stressful because General Patton there wants us to eat like soldiers. So a couple nights we’re just going to grab a relaxing dinner by ourselves.”

3. Disappoint your parents/in-laws. You’ll pretty much guarantee this any time you are assertive! You are a grown up now, not their little child. Your kids and spouse come before your parents. If hubby is more afraid of disappointing his Mommy than his wife, we have issues. Who are you more afraid of disappointing—your parents or your own family? (If you want help with issues like this that are devastating relationships, join Calm BootCamp. We want you to be free!)

4. Show and tell others what works best for your kids.
“Ryan and Samantha have a ton of energy. I like it and it’s the reason your kids are going to work for them one day (smile), but I know it can be overwhelming when we’re all together. So here’s what works best for them: specific, concrete directions. Clear expectations. Purposeful missions. They love helping, not just being bossed around. Listen to them. Ask for their ideas. They are bright kids. Treat them more like adults and you’ll get a better result.”

5. Praise and play to your child’s strengths. At some point, Perfect Peggy is going to brag about her perfect kids. You and your kids will shrink into the background. Go on the offensive. Tell everyone about your child’s amazing ideas, stories, Lego creations, big heart. Set your kids up to succeed—have them engage in activities that show off their natural strengths.

Later this week, we’ll look at other ways to irritate your extended family and enjoy your kids! You may not agree with it, but it’s fun to do! What are the most difficult situations you face when you are with family?