Thanksgiving is just around the corner and families are having to decide if they are going to get together and share their gratitude, blessings and lots of food or not.

Conflict Resolution During the Holidays

What happens when couples have different ideas about having or not having Thanksgiving this year due to the pandemic?

Since this is a very personal matter, people have to decide for themselves what works best for them. There are several ways to handle the matter and find conflict resolution.

How you handle this matter will depend on several factors – including:

  1. Your relational maturity
  2. If you have a conscious relationship
  3. If you have a secure attachment

If your relationship was contentious and dysfunctional prior to Covid, then Thanksgiving is not the root of your fighting.  It’s the underlying issues that triggers you to use Thanksgiving as an excuse.

As of this writing, there are almost 12, 000,000 Covid cases in the US and more than 250,000 deaths.  This is not an opinion.  These are facts.

It was very easy for us. Our family got together on different platforms; telephone, texting, and zoom. We decided to take a vote and it was unanimous that we all agreed not to take the risk as there are 20 plus members of our immediate and extended family. It was a no brainer.

Other families may have different views about the event. Every voice needs to be heard and then a vote ‘to have or not to have’ Thanksgiving is counted. It’s the democratic way to proceed. In the case where there is a divided vote, those choosing to have the holiday together decide who will host the dinner and those feeling comfortable to attend, show up. Those who feel its too risky, stay in their respective homes making dinner for their immediate families.

When a couple can’t agree on holding Thanksgiving, they have options.

The partner who wants to be a part of a family gathering can choose to go without the partner who doesn’t feel comfortable attending. Each has the right to self-determination. Each should respect the choice of each other. There is also an alternative solution. It’s called COMPROMISE! In this case, they can choose to pass on this one and choose Xmas hoping that in another month the surge of cases might diminish. However, it might be that cases can go even higher by Xmas making it unsafe to attend. But—that’s life! There are no guarantees and we have to learn to bite the bullet. The other option is to flip a coin-heads we go—tails we stay home. Unless, of course, the partner that feels strongly about not attending, stays at home and the other attends.

There is no doubt that attending a large gathering where children, grandmas and grandpas, moms and dads, extended family members are present and college students are home for the holidays is risky business. Everyone has a different level of comfort and should be allowed to make their own choice without criticism or judgment. The last thing anyone would want is for someone who stays home to be called a “party pooper”, or someone who doesn’t feel safe or comfortable about joining, capitulates to the crowd and gets ill.

We must deal with this conundrum in a democratic fashion. It’s a very personal choice to go or to stay home. Putting pressure on someone for making a choice will only lead to resentment. Thanksgiving is not about making resentments. It is for having gratitude for our blessings and supporting our family’s rights to their choices and opinions. Yes, there will be disappointment, perhaps even heartbreak and for some, mild trauma. However, life brings us situations where we have to accept what we can’t control. Losing a family Thanksgiving is not as bad as losing a family member.

So folks, buckle up. Life is filled with disappointments and sorrow. We have to accept what we can’t change. Change what we can and hope for the best is yet to come!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Don’t eat too much turkey whether you are home alone, with your spouse or significant other, or with the whole family! Stay well and be safe!

Joan E Childs, LCSW is a renowned psychotherapist, inspirational speaker, and author. For more information on how to create and maintain a conscious relationship, order Joan’s new book, I Hate The Man I Love: A Conscious Relationship is Your Key to Success.

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  • Joan E. Childs, LCSW

    Psychotherapist, Author and Inspirational Speaker

    Joan E. Childs, LCSW is a renowned psychotherapist, inspirational speaker and author. She has been in private practice in South Florida since 1978 specializing in both individual and couple’s therapy. Her books include I HATE THE MAN I LOVE: A Conscious Relationship is Your Key to Success, WHY DID SHE JUMP? My Daughter’s Battle with Bipolar Disorder and THE MYTH OF THE MAIDEN: On Being a Woman. Joan specializes in couples therapy using many modalities including Encounter-centered Couples Therapy, Imago Relationship Therapy, PAIRS (Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills), as well as many others. She is also an expert in Codependency, Inner Child Work, Original Pain Work and Second Stage Recovery. After nearly 40 years in private practice healing the wounds of clients who’s lives had been fractured from personal traumas, she has taken her personal and professional knowledge, skills and experience to serve as an inspirational keynote speaker. As a professional speaker specializing in women’s issues, couple and family relationships, self-actualization and grief and loss, she has the qualifications and credibility to impact her audiences and effect positive change. Joan has appeared on many radio and television shows including Oprah and before live audiences. She produced her own television show, SOLUTIONS to provide education and resources to the community on mental health. Joan was chosen to be the first affiliate of the John Bradshaw Center in the United States and is a consultant to many corporations, hospitals, universities and academic institutions. In 2014 she completed a three year Master’s Class training with Hedy Schleifer and received her certification for ENCOUNTER-CENTERED COUPLE’S THERAPY. Learn more about Joan at