Dear Dr. Linda,
I have two requests to ask of you for your Thanksgiving column. First to provide another Thanksgiving quiz because my whole family, every generation, loves it. The arguing between generations as to who answered first and correctly is hysterical.
My second request is not that funny. How do I deal with the arguing that occurs between my mom and my mother-in-law? We have four wonderful kids ranging from 5 to 14 and the argument always seems to be over something one of my kids said or did.
Last year, it was over my 14-year-old daughter’s grades because report cards had just come out. It got so bad that our daughter ended up crying and my in-laws walked out before dessert. What are these two women teaching our kids about Thanksgiving?
First, the problem you’re facing is that you want to have a wonderful family Thanksgiving dinner just like in the Norman Rockwell painting. Unfortunately, it looks good in a painting, but doesn’t always happen. In your situation, the two grandmas don’t seem to see eye to eye which creates tension for everyone. To make it worse, they’re arguing about your children in front of them. You need to step in to protect your children because that type of behavior is unhealthy and can scar them.
Before Thanksgiving or any event in which you’ll be together, talk to each grandma privately and personally—not by text or email. Tell her that you appreciate her advice, that it’s always good to hear someone else’s opinion. But to share her advice with you and your husband first and not directly with your children. Comments, looks or gestures from significant others that children perceive as negative may have a lifelong effect.
Some grandparents go directly to the child because they know that the parents are not open to hear anything. That’s not good, either. Grandparents, because they’ve had years of experience and have learned from it (hopefully), are a great resource for you. Be careful not to push them away. Remember, they love your children too.
If Grandma 1 and Grandma 2 continue to argue with you and don’t see what they’re doing is damaging, it’s still your responsibility to buffer your children. Consider going skiing next year.
A Thanksgiving Quiz
Answer true or false.
1. Thanksgiving is celebrated in both the United States and Canada on the same day.
2. Thanksgiving is celebrated late in the fall because it’s a celebration of the harvest.
3. The first Thanksgiving observance took place on December 4, 1619 in Virginia and it was entirely religious and did not involve feasting.
4. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in New England in 1621 in Boston, MA.
5. The Governor at the time of the first Thanksgiving in New England in 1621 was Governor Williams.
6. The celebration lasted for a whole day.
7. In 1789, after the Revolutionary War, President George Washington proclaimed that November 26th of that year would be a national holiday to give thanks for the establishment of a new government. But only some states celebrated Thanksgiving.
8. In 1830, the state of Massachusetts was the first state to have an official Thanksgiving Day.
9. In 1863, Sarah Hale, the editor of a famous lady’s magazine, convinced President Abraham Lincoln to proclaim that the last Thursday in November would be a day of thanksgiving.
10. In 1941, Congress passed a law that Thanksgiving would be observed on the fourth Thursday of November and it would be a legal federal holiday.
11. Turkey was the only bird at the first Thanksgiving celebration.
12. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was in 1924.
13. Eating sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving is a tradition which began with the New England colonists.
14. Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird, not the eagle.
15. In 1941, Congress passed a law that Thanksgiving would be observed on the fourth Thursday of November and it would be a legal federal holiday.
1. Quiz Answers: (1). False. Thanksgiving is celebrated in both countries, but in the U.S. it’s the 4th Thursday in November and in Canada it’s the 2nd Monday in October. (2). True (3). True (4). False. It was celebrated in Plymouth, MA (5). False. Governor William Bradford (6). False. The celebration lasted for three days. (7). True (8). False. The state of New York was the first state to have an official Thanksgiving Day. (9). True (10). True (11). False. There is no proof that turkey was even eaten at the first Thanksgiving. Historians believe lobster and other fish and game were served. Turkey first became popular as the main meal in 1863, after Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. (12). True. But, the first Macy’s parade was intended to celebrate Christmas instead. (13). False. Slaves in the South, during colonial times, from the tropical region of Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, and West Africa, came from an area known as the “yam belt.” They probably cooked the sweet potatoes as they would have yams. (14). True (15). True