Penn State relationship expert says Thanksgiving may not be the best time to resolve simmering family conflicts.
A relationship expert from Penn State’s College of Medicine has some tips for anyone trying to cook up a peaceful holiday alongside their Thanksgiving turkey.
Cheryl Dellasega says the holiday brew that includes too much food, too much alcohol and too much togetherness can be a recipe for disaster.
Dellasega: Here we are, we are all going to spend all day together, and we are going to have one of those Hallmark moments like on the Christmas cards, that’s expecting a lot especially if they are people you really don’t see very often.
Dellasega studies relationships, particularly among women, who she says are traditionally the kin keepers in a family.
Dellasega: We as women have a remarkable persistence in trying to fix things up, make it better and get it back to the way it was.
She says women can also be very skilled at wielding relationship weapons, like gossip and undermining.
Dellasega: So maybe it’s that your aunt always asks you, ‘When are you going to have children?’ or ‘When are you going to get married?’ or “What is that loser husband of yours doing?’
Dellasega wrote the book Forced to be Family, and says, if possible, dodge some of those emotional blows by providing an update on your life, in your own way.
If all else fails, she says sometimes a good attitude — and a shut mouth — can be the best present for the family you are close to.
Dellasega: This is a gift for my husband, I’m going to get along with her, I’m not going to be snippy, and get through the day knowing that this is something that I can do for him, and I would hope that in return he would do the same for me.