Avoiding political conflict at the Thanksgiving dinner table

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — Believe it or not, some Americans have had to change their Thanksgiving plans because of what has been an extremely polarizing election.

So how do you enjoy family and friends without heavy political topics ruining the day?

A counselor talks to WJTV about ways to avoid conflict.

It’s a time to remember all the things we are thankful for.

“I am just really thankful because a lot of things have happened this past year and a lot of people were not ale to see this Thanksgiving,” said Carol Aldridge.

The season is all about love, but some families are running into a problem.

“In general, this time of the year, therapy rooms are packed full just because people have issues with family gatherings in general, but this season definitely with the political climate being what it is,” Rebecca Kirk said.

Most will agree, this recent presidential election divided the nation greatly. In some cases, even putting family members aginst one another.

It has caused concern for some Americans as they plan their holiday gatherings.

“I just say we all need to be happy and respect one another’s beliefs and privilege to vote like they want to,” Gayle Smith said. “It will be good to be thankful and enjoy each other in this season.”

Josh Wilkinson
“I will just try to sidestep the whole conversation,” Josh Wilkinson said. “Just avoid it.”

Experts agree. Sometimes avoiding the conversation altogether can be the best thing to do.

“Don’t bring it up,” Rebecca Kirk said, Licensed Professional Counselor. “A lot of people assume that an entire family may think the same way, and they don’t. The day after the election, Every single client/patient that I saw talked about the election. It’s a time to remember what the season is about.”

Kirk works for Magnolia Counseling Associates. She said if the topic does come up, it doesn’t have to be a combative conversation.

Try to diffuse the situation before it gets bad. What’s done is done, so there’s no reason to get upset or fight now, and remember to respect your loved one’s opinions, on both sides.

“People say don’t ever talk about religion or politics,” Kirk said. “There are times when that can be appropriate, but that’s usually when it’s one on one like when someone is truly genuinely wanting to have that dialogue. We all just really need to remember that love is the greatest of all things and this is the season to just focus on the things that we’re grateful for.”

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