Trump vs. #NeverTrump Inside Your HomeMarch 21, 2016
You've watched the GOP debates, done your research, have avoided #ImWithHer and #FeelTheBern hashtags, and made your choice for the GOP presidential nomination: Ted Cruz. Your husband or wife, father or mother, son or daughter, however, have looked at the very same information you have and come to a different conclusion - that Donald Trump, not Ted Cruz, represents their values and the best chance for a Republican victory in November. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz: two polarizing figures, both supported - inside your very own domicile! Sometimes you initiate these conversations, hoping to talk about these differences, secretly thinking you'll change a mind or a heart; other times you avoid these conversations altogether. No matter your mood or willingness to engage this political split with your family, a tension has developed that makes your home stressful, even a dreaded place to be - the exact opposite of what a home should be. How, then, should you cope, diffuse the anger, and restore a sense of comfort and happiness in your home?
Very important for this and other situations, foster a sense of open communication and emotional sharing. Remind your loved-ones how you feel about them, and do it often enough that there's never a doubt. Make clear that neither Donald Trump nor Ted Cruz has any hand in your relationship with your family. Your openness about those feelings will encourage others in your household to do the same, and so long as your love for one another is never in doubt, disagreement is a far more tolerable reality. It can also be used as a way to challenge one another that can be fun.
If tensions run high, however, and if political discussion is an absolute necessity behind closed doors, focus on principles and areas of agreement. Principles tend to draw common belief; if your conversations center on economic growth, helping the less fortunate, and the importance of security, for example, you and your family may find you agree on some or all of these objectives. Even if you disagree on the path to achieve these goals, you'll set the tone that you all want the same things and are simply searching for the right tactics. This can be far less likely to prompt defensive posturing and in-fighting than a more abstract argument about Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
But where you find that any discussion whatsoever about the GOP candidates for president fractures the sense of well-being in your home, and where even a more general discussion about issues and goals is an afront to those around you, consider avoiding the topic altogether. There's no rule requiring political conversation in the home, and if such discussion leads to anger, resentment, sadness, or hostility, it's perfectly reasonable to declare political topics off-limits. Be sure to explain your reasoning: that your relationships with your family mean far more to you than any allegiance to a presidential candidate and that you will not allow any political topic, candidate, or issue interfere with them.
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