Politics and religion have high potential for breaking families. Political differences are prone to creating family divisions. Since faith and politics are often interrelated, challenging a person’s politics can also mean challenging his or her religion. When grandparents and their children disagree with the policy, they risk becoming estranged from the family, which could result in loss of contact with the grandchildren. No matter how strong your political principles are, nothing is worth losing that precious bond. Here’s how to keep politics from destroying your family .
POLITICS IS NOT WORTH A FAMILY DISCUSSION
A world in which we never discuss politics for fear of hurting someone’s feelings would be a dysfunctional world. But occasionally, when it is obvious that two opposing parties will never find agreement, it is appropriate to declare a moratorium on political discussion and simply not talk about it.
In these cases, the parties involved should look for elements of shared interest that are not closely linked to political issues. You should be able to talk about the best way to cook or grow tomatoes without much conflict … But if you can’t discuss your interest in an issue without making it political, then find another issue.
HOW TO SPEAK, IF YOU DECIDE TO SPEAK
If you choose to talk politics, these strategies will increase your chances of an argument, so it is best to keep them in mind to avoid them:
- Open your mind to what the other party is saying
- If you can’t open your mind to what the other party is saying, don’t bother talking. Learn what others tell you, even if you have a different opinion.
- Use humor wisely. It can be a lifesaver to inject a bit of lightness into the discussion but reject sarcastic or partisan humor. Political situations often have an inherent humor that, if recognized, can relax the mood.
- Keep calm. If you can’t keep your voice low and your tone civil, it’s time to get out of the conversation.
- Control your body language. Don’t bend over or invade the other person’s space. Beware of physically trapping people. There are good reasons why we don’t like being cornered. Don’t take hostile positions . Some experts say that body language accounts for at least half of all communication. Be aware of yours.
- How to get out of an awkward conversation. Many people choose to end conversations with statements like, “We will just have to accept disagreement.” However, such seemingly innocuous statements can be detrimental, especially if other parties feel they have been cut off without having your opinion. It’s much better to say, “You’ve given me something to think about. Let’s talk about something else and come back to this another time.”
SPECIAL ISSUES INVOLVING GRANDCHILDREN
One of the best ways to create a family rift is to proselytize your grandchildren when you host them privately. This is most dangerous when your grandchildren are of school age. During these formative years, parents have the right to control the forces that influence their development to the extent that these forces can be controlled.
Resist the temptation to raise political issues with your grandchildren. If a grandchild initiates the conversation , your family’s particular circumstances will determine how you should respond. If the disagreement in your family is particularly volatile, you should be reluctant to respond. If your family is a little more open to conversation, it’s okay to answer the questions, but you’ll have to make sure to include your answer with a disclaimer that a lot of other people you love would disagree with your point of view, and so on. it’s okay. Remember that you must take good care of your words because there is always the danger that what you want to say is not well understood.