NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Getting ready to gather virtually with family on Thanksgiving?
How will you navigate inevitable conversations about the still-contentious election?
Is politics simply to be avoided? Can it be?
Those were the days, remembered Sheri Baker of Old Westbury. Thanksgiving will look very different this year with a giant family Zoom chat, but there are some things that won’t be different.
“We have learned sort of the hard way that there are some topics when it comes to politics that are better left unsaid in order to keep the holidays happy,” Baker told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff on Wednesday.
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Emotions are still running high following the the election, splitting not only the country, but families.
“I think our country is more divided than ever.
“It’s terrible,” another person said.
And as we gather, even virtually, should politics be banned from Thanksgiving?
“What I do recommend is speaking to family in advance and having a plan,” said Dr. Amanda Fialk, chief of clinical services at the DORM, a treatment community in New York City for young adults.
Fialk said to set parameters ahead of time to either avoid politics or limit when it may be discussed.
“I think it’s useful to ask questions of them rather than to speak at them and make statements,” Fialk said.
And take a timeout when you’re simply not hearing one another.
“When it’s no longer productive, end it. And that doesn’t mean end it forever. That just means end it for right now,” Fialk said.
Or take a cue from couples therapy techniques to help heal relationships with those on the other side of the political divide.
“We are an American family. We sit a the same table and if we expel people from the table because of their political views we will lose our ability to function as a country,” said family therapist Bill Doherty, co-founder of Braver Angels.
“I think everybody’s aim is to try to do their part, to keep healthy, keep safe, protect our friends and family and strangers, so we can get through this,” Baker added.
Baker said she plans to focus on being thankful, to count our blessings, not our differences.
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