Food, family, politics: What’s acceptable to discuss at the Thanksgiving table?

Hadas Kuznits
November 28, 2019 - 5:00 am
Family enjoys Thanksgiving dinner

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Alex Shvarts from Voorhees has one Thanksgiving rule: No politics.

“Absolutely not,” he added. “My parents are stuck in their ways.”

Thanksgiving is a time for many families to get together, but how do you navigate the meal when your family members have political views different from yours?

Amy Jones, a therapist at Council for Relationships, said the discord doesn't necessarily stem from politics, but from people's inability to communicate effectively.

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“I just don't think we've been taught how to disagree with one another and still stay connected,” she said. “You can choose to connect and care for a person, even if you disagree with them.”

She said the conflict comes when people try to convince others rather than try to understand someone else's perspective. She'd like to challenge the idea that politics is too taboo to discuss.

“Listening to hear the other person, not half-listening and actually preparing a rebuttal,” she said. “Reflect back what you're hearing them say and check in to see if you're understanding them correctly.”

Otherwise, that's when feelings get hurt.

"People want to feel like they're heard and that they're important, especially by people they love and care for," Jones added.