On this day
The truth is, not everyone looks forward to Thanksgiving. Apart from the unfortunate truth that those who live far from home (college kids, for example) are less likely to have the time and resources to travel to their families, Thanksgiving family gatherings can be is nothing but an obligation that some people would rather not meet.
Problems surface on this Thanksgiving holiday.
If there are tensions in your family, then being in their presence can be a whole lot to deal with. You might feel judged by your family members for your life choices, or who you are. You might not feel comfortable around other family members who never seem to get along. Or maybe your parents have gone through a divorce, and you have to decide which Thanksgiving dinner to go to. With all this in mind, it’s no wonder that Thanksgiving can trigger depressive episodes in teens and young adults.
Holiday blues is very real.
Even if you are able to spend the entire four-day weekend with your family, it can end up causing stressful family issues to come to the forefront.
As a parent, there are ways to reduce the tension. For one, you can take charge, and distract difficult family members with responsibilities. If they are busy stuffing the turkey, or they have the responsibility to carry their signature potato salad, they have less time to make any triggering remarks. Offer to pay your teen to look after the younger ones for a while. This give them something to look forward to once the holiday is over, since they’ll have extra money in their pocket.
Another smart way to keep tensions low is make good seating decisions. Keep family members who don’t like each other away from each other. What’s more, it might even be a good idea to keep apart family members who are prone to hypercritical remarks when together.
You can also invite a neighbor or friend to the Thanksgiving table. Some people tend to be better behaved when a stranger is present. If you know your family is like that, then this could be a good idea. It’s best to avoid this if this is not the case, though, as family tensions can result in embarrassment and even morestress when witnessed by a stranger.
It may be a family tradition to have alcohol at your Thanksgiving gathering, but it might be a good idea not to break out the wine. After all, when inhibitions are released, things can go terribly wrong. All these ideas can help keep the anxiety out of the Thanksgiving weekend.
As said before, being apart from your family can be hard, too. If your young adult is at away at college or work and can’t make their way to you, encourage them to spend Thanksgiving with a friend’s family. This can be a good distraction from the feelings of loneliness.
If you use these methods, Thanksgiving can be a much better experience for everyone.