Categories & Search ↓

Prof in Tribune On Keeping Thanksgiving Peace: ‘Relationships Outlast a Presidency’ Dr. Claudia Pitts gives tips to preserve family ties when opinions differ at Thanksgiving

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-4-13-11-pmThe Chicago Tribune turned to NLU’s Claudia Pitts, Ed.D., for its Nov. 19 article, “This Thanksgiving, Should You Go Cold Turkey On Political Talk?”

In the article, reporter Kate Thayer gave an example of an individual who was wary of gathering with extended family at the Thanksgiving table because he normally votes blue, while the rest of his family votes red. He was anticipating a lot of tension.

Pitts, associate professor in NLU’s Psychology program, cautioned that while feelings are running very high these days, it’s important to take the long view and remember that kinship bonds unite you.

“These are relationships that I hope outlast a presidency,” Pitts said. “Remind yourself that even though you disagree with these people, these are your people.”

She recommended a “diffuse, distract and decline” strategy. If someone is spouting political statements you don’t agree with, you can try to soften or “diffuse” the meaning; you could also distract by changing the subject. If there’s no escaping it, however, you can flat out decline: “I’d prefer not to talk about this at a holiday gathering.” Then before anyone else can take a breath, be prepared to launch neutral topics of conversation.

Find more tips to navigate the holiday conversation in the Chicago Tribune article. 

Also, see “15 Ways To Keep the Election Results From Spoiling Your Family’s Thanksgiving,” which includes tips from both Pitts and NLU’s Susan Thorne-Devin, LCSW, assistant professor of Counseling.