To his critics, Trump represents everything that is wrong about our culture. He has been characterized as vulgar, racist, and offensive. He has demonized his enemies, and made crude sexual innuendoes about his male anatomy and those of his opponents.
If our kids acted the way he does, we’d reprimand and ground them. He’s an embarrassment to all of us.
To his fans, Trump is the first politician in a long time who truly says what he thinks and feels. He’s not bound by the same conventions of political correctness that muzzle the rest of us. He is an honest and forthright individual in a world of phonies and frauds. He is the forceful voice for those who have suffered in silence for so long.
If our kids turned out to be like Trump, we’d be proud of their character and accomplishments.
Whether foe or fan, one thing is clear. Trump has connected with America’s youth.
Whenever I make presentations to parents, I always get the same question. “How do I get my children to talk with me?” Parents understand that their kids are developing their identities and gradually disengaging from their parents. That’s fine and normal. However, parents need and want to maintain a close relationship with their children during this process.
Here’s where Donald Trump comes to the rescue! I’ve found that kids have more opinions about Trump than any politician in recent memory. This presents a great opportunity for parents to talk about stuff that matters to their kids.
Here are a few guidelines in making this a meaningful conversation.
- Avoid extremes. Most people, including kids, have powerful feelings about Trump. Be careful in expressing a strong point of view, because it’s usually a turn-off for most youth. Remember that the purpose of the conversation is to connect with your child, not convince them that you are right.
- Seek understanding. Here’s the fun and difficult part. Regardless of your perspective, try to help your child understand how others can think differently. If your teen is a Trump advocate, guide the conversation around appreciating another’s perspective. When I tried this recently with a college-age student, she simply remarked that his critics were “stupid.” Remember, I didn’t say this would be easy, but it is valuable if you can accomplish it. .
- Do something together. Go to a political rally or watch some YouTube videos. Why are people risking jail or bodily harm to protest his candidacy? Why is he so popular? Ask questions. Listen. Understand.
Regardless of whether you think Trump is good or bad for America, he may just help you connect with your child.