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Take Care of Trouble Makers

If your reunion is large enough, you'll likely run into a troublemaker or two. Here are some ideas for handling them.

If your family reunion is large enough, you're likely to run into someone who gets a little out of hand. It may be an uncle who has a bit too much to drink or an elderly spinster who complains too much or demands too much attention. It may be a child who throws a temper tantrum or bullies younger children. How do you handle them? Here are some hints.

  • Ask the person to behave.. Mention to the person who is disrupting the reunion that his behavior is disrupting the reunion. Ask him to stop. He may not be aware that he is causing a problem. If you are afraid of the person, invite one or two other family members to go with you. In the case of a child, find his or her parents and ask them to take care of the situation.
  • Sidetrack the person. Give him or her a job to do. It may be he is just bored or feeling unwanted. Ask him to fetch something for you or to start taking photos or to help you take something out of the oven. Try to make it something the person is likely to want to do rather than something like "take out the trash." Remember that most people who make trouble want attention. They're also often the more intelligent and brave members of the family. So you have a chance to add your best and brightest to your team.
  • Bribe him. Say that if he stops whatever it is that's bothersome and does something else that is valuable he'll get extra dessert or the first place in line at dinner or a new dollar bill.
  • Call the police. If someone is behaving violently or you're worried he might, call the police and explain the situation. Having an officer come and check things out may save other members of your family from harm. If the situation is sensitive, let the dispatcher know.

If you suspect, as you're planning the family reunion, that a particular family member will be a troublemaker, you can just not invite him to the reunion. If he shows up anyway, welcome him the same way you do the others.