Estranged Adult Kids and Thanksgiving: Finding Gratitude Amidst Challenges

As Thanksgiving approaches, the holiday season can bring mixed emotions for estranged adult kids (EAKs). While this time of year is traditionally associated with gratitude, family gatherings, and togetherness, it can be a poignant reminder of the complexities and challenges that estrangement brings. Navigating Thanksgiving as an EAK requires a delicate balance of acknowledging feelings of loss and finding reasons for gratitude in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Grappling with Emotions

For many EAKs, Thanksgiving may evoke a range of emotions – from sadness and loneliness to anger and resentment. It’s essential to give yourself permission to feel and process these emotions without judgment. Remember that it’s entirely normal to experience a mix of conflicting feelings during this time.


Validating Your Feelings

It’s crucial to validate your feelings as an EAK during Thanksgiving. Society often places significant emphasis on family bonds during the holiday season, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy or guilt for estranged individuals. Understand that estrangement is a complex decision made for personal well-being, and it’s okay to prioritise your emotional health.

Reclaiming Thanksgiving for Yourself

Reframe the concept of Thanksgiving to suit your needs and values. Instead of focusing solely on family gatherings, consider it a time for introspection, self-care, and personal growth. You can create new traditions that bring joy and meaning to the holiday, even without traditional family involvement.

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Finding Gratitude Within

Despite the challenges of estrangement, cultivating gratitude can be a powerful tool for emotional well-being. Seek out moments of gratitude in your life, acknowledging the positive aspects, opportunities, and relationships you cherish. Practicing gratitude can help shift the focus from what’s missing to what’s present.

Connecting with Supportive Others

Reach out to friends, chosen family, or support groups who understand your experiences as an EAK. Surrounding yourself with understanding and compassionate individuals can provide comfort and validation during this time.

Setting Boundaries

Thanksgiving may bring invitations or expectations from family members to reconcile or engage in gatherings. Remember that you have the right to set boundaries that protect your emotional well-being. Prioritise self-care and decide what feels right for you.

Reflecting on Growth and Resilience

Take the opportunity to reflect on your growth and resilience as an EAK. Recognize the strength it takes to navigate estrangement and honour the progress you’ve made on your journey to healing.

Embracing Self-Care

Thanksgiving can be an excellent time to practice self-care. Engage in activities that bring you joy, such as hobbies, mindfulness practices, or spending time in nature. Prioritise your well-being and make self-care a priority during the holiday season.

Seeking Professional Support

If feelings of distress, sadness, or anxiety become overwhelming, consider seeking support from a mental health professional. Therapy can be a valuable resource for processing emotions, developing coping strategies, and fostering emotional resilience.

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Gratitude for Growth

Thanksgiving can be a challenging time for estranged adult kids, but it also presents an opportunity for growth, resilience, and finding gratitude within yourself. By validating your emotions, setting boundaries, and reframing the holiday, you can navigate Thanksgiving with a renewed sense of self-compassion and empowerment. Remember that you are not alone in this journey, and seeking support from like-minded individuals or professionals can make a significant difference. Embrace the chance to create meaningful experiences and find gratitude amidst the challenges of estrangement.


Navigating the holiday season as an estranged adult kid can be emotionally trying, but it’s essential to remember that you are not alone in your experiences. By setting boundaries, practicing self-care, and seeking support, you can navigate the seasonal challenges and find healing and self-empowerment during this time of the year. Remember that your well-being is paramount, and it’s okay to prioritise your emotional health and happiness.