633: Family Politics

A Thousand Things to Talk About
A Thousand Things to Talk About
633: Family Politics

Do you talk politics with your family?

Full episode script

It’s the holiday season, and that’s a season that almost always means there are decisions to be made about family conversations. If you should have them, what you should talk about, and what to avoid. It’s a calculus that varies for just about everyone, and yet shares a lot of commonality for the pure fact that we all have family members who we may not agree with.


In fact, research tells us we’re more likely to disagree with our parents than we are to agree. Released in 2015, a longitudinal study found that somewhere between 51 and 54 percent of children either totally misperceive or reject their parents’ political affiliation. That same study found that while discussing politics in the home with children does increase the likelihood that children correctly identify their parents’ political affiliation, it doesn’t increase the likelihood that children take on their parents political identification.


But if you share political identification with your parents or not, there is almost certainly someone in your family you disagree with. So – should you talk to them about politics?


A surprising number of experts say ye — if you have the emotional energy to do so. And if you’re ready to deal with the fact that you might not make any specific progress with the person you are talking to.  


As one researcher at the American Psychological Institute put it, quote:

“…even if you are the best communicator in the world, you still might not get the outcome you want. You need to have a coping plan for how you are going to deal with the feelings you are going to have when you couldn’t enact the change you wanted. And then, you need to figure out a way that you can keep trying to have these difficult conversations.”


But research can say anything it wants to — we all make decisions based on our understanding at the time and our ability to handle the dynamics. So…

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.