I’m pretty close with both of my parents and I love them dearly. However, if I thought either of them had done something that, oh, I don’t know, disrespected roughly half the world’s population, I might feel compelled to acknowledge our differences. I mean, I’d do so lovingly since I’m not a total monster, but I’d definitely say something. In fact, there are countless things you should say to your parents when you disagree, especially in this current political state where we all have a family member with a seemingly bonkers viewpoint. (Note to my mom and dad: I'm not talking about you guys. I'm just saying, in general).
I’ve actually been thinking about potential disagreements with my parents a lot lately, and ever since Ivanka Trump made recent headlines for standing by her father, President Donald Trump, when asked about his questionable history with women. This time, it was on stage at the W20 Summit in Berlin, where she said Donald Trump, “has been a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive.” While Ivanka is more than entitled to her opinion, after examining her father's first 100 days in office, it's difficult to agree. For example, according to The HuffPost, Trump has proposed cutting programs that help victims of domestic violence. His current proposed tax plan will give "the richest 1 percent of Americans after-tax income increases of 14 percent, while low- and middle-class income holders will only see incomes gains ranging from a paltry 1.2 to 1.8 percent after taxes," according to USA Today.
To be fair, I suppose there’s a chance Ivanka Trump actually believes that her father truly is "a champion of supporting families," since she’s also stated publicly, according to The Washington Post, that she makes it clear to her father when she disagrees with him, and she has denounced some of his other actions in the past. However, judging by the jeers she received as a response to her statement, the audience in Berlin wasn’t buying it.
What’s interesting to me is that there’s been more than one reaction to Ivanka's Berlin statements, essentially giving Ivanka a pass on this issue since we are, as a society and global community, talking about her dad. I don’t agree with the idea that offspring are exempt from exercising moral judgment toward our parents, nor do I think it’s OK to pretend like someone is a wonderful advocate for a particular population when history proves otherwise. You can love someone and recognize their faults, and you can be honest when people ask you about it. So with that in mind (and in case Ivanka is reading) here are just a few things you can say to your parents (or to other people while talking about your parents) if you find that you don't agree with them:
“I Love You But I Don't Feel The Same Way..."
I could finish that sentence with a hundred different things every day. My partners and I don't feel the same way about iced coffee, or social media, or jazz music, nor do we have completely consistent political and religious views.
Perhaps these are easy facts to state because none of us are in the public eye and zillions of people aren't expressing opinions about us on Twitter everyday, but for the record, I think honesty tends to be a pretty safe policy.
“I Don’t Agree With You Because...”
Actually, my 2 year old says a version of this one everyday when he refuses to eat what my partner and I are preparing for dinner. Personally, I've been saying it to my own parents since middle school, when I was desperate to shop at Gap while my mom steered me toward the mall department stores. If we can do it as toddlers and tweens, surely we can do it as adults, even with admittedly higher stakes.
“I'm Disappointed With Your Choice..."
Here's some insight into my family life that you didn't ask for. This year, my parents and I went back and forth on whether or not any of us would travel to visit for the holidays. They live a few hundred miles away, and the drive includes mountains and, in the winter, a pretty high likelihood of snow and unpleasant conditions. After literally weeks of debate, neither side opted to travel, so we spent Christmas apart. I was really bummed about it, I had no problem expressing that when people asked, and I've even written about it on the internet.
Guess what, though? We all got over it and we moved on because, once again, we're all adults. It wasn't that hard, I promise.
“I’m A Grown Woman & We Don't Have To Share The Same Opinion”
Sometimes, that's all there is to it. I mean, I'm a grown woman who still thinks the world was blessed by the formation of the Backstreet Boys, and I like painting my nails a myriad of colors. Neither of my parent seems to feel the same way. I'm getting more open about talking politics with people, while they prefer to keep those conversations private. Guess what? We all still love each other.
“I Won't Say Anything Negative About You"
Sure, it goes without saying that we don't really like talking negatively about the people we love. However, sometimes (and especially in heated debates) it's difficult not to make the jump from passionate to mean. The way I see it, acknowledging that you simply don't want to go there is still better than pretending like "there" doesn't exist.
“I Won’t Defend Your Views”
For the record, this technically is an option, Ivanka. Just sayin'.