Dear June: Politics Strain Father-Daughter Relationship

Take a step back and focus on bonding
December 21, 2020 Updated: December 21, 2020

Dear June,

Your article in The Epoch Times, December 2–8, 2020, “When Politics Are Polarizing Your Marriage,” and in our case, Your Father-Daughter Relationship … was just the subject we have been addressing for the past several weeks.

We sent a one-year gift subscription of The Epoch Times to my husband’s daughter and granddaughter. This was after weeks of knowing that trying to talk about our differences and even have a “healthy” debate was not going anywhere. My husband’s daughter is highly intelligent but won’t put a moment into having a peek into what the conservative truths are. He spent an hour on the phone trying to explain to her why he is voting for Trump and the socialist direction that Biden will irreversibly take our country.

She told him that she understood and she would vote for Trump. Perhaps she was just tired of being lectured to … can’t blame her at all … but, now that he knows she did NOT vote for Trump he is extremely disappointed and can’t seem to bring himself to even speak with her. It’s very heartbreaking for all involved. I’m sure time will heal their wounds … but my mission is to help his daughter to just give The Epoch Times 10 minutes for a week each morning over coffee. I’m just asking for 10 minutes … I truly think her eyes could be opened if she would do this. Does that sound fair?

Kindest regards,

The Stepmonster

Dear Stepmonster,

It does seem curious that your stepdaughter won’t agree to even peek at articles with a conservative point of view, yet after an hour of discussion (lecturing?) she agreed to vote for the conservative candidate. So indeed, perhaps she was agreeing only to end the discussion. So for your husband, instead of being hurt, I would take a step back and see it as a valuable learning experience about the effect he can have on his daughter.

I previously wrote a column about what to do when adult children turn away from you because of ideology, which you might also like reading. I recommend that if your relationship with older children is sour or at risk of becoming so, that you ignore your differences and focus on what bonds you.

It is really not at all simple to change a socialist mindset—it’s not something a few facts will accomplish because it requires changing the framework from which a person understands many things, often including history, world and national events, and possibly even their fundamental values. Many people see socialism as a more fair and compassionate form of government, not as the necessary precursor to totalitarianism.

I sometimes read articles from mainstream publications that have this view because I want to understand what is being said there, and it is like stepping into a whole different realm of thought, one built on fundamentally different assumptions. It is not easy to challenge these assumptions.

Regarding your gift to your stepdaughter, I would suggest this: First, consider what you know of her feelings and attitude, do you think she would be open and curious enough to read what might challenge them?

I do think we all crave and appreciate the truth and want to make up our own minds. I have gotten feedback from one reader that while they didn’t necessarily agree with our op-eds, he subscribed because he appreciated the neutral, factual reporting, which was informative and allowed him to draw his own conclusions. As an intelligent person, your stepdaughter might appreciate this.

You could also tell her you much you like the paper, and suggest that she might like the lifestyle sections, such as Life and Tradition, Home, or Mind and Body.

And it might be good to preface this by saying that you value her friendship and don’t want politics to come between you.

And by doing your best to accept, understand, and appreciate her for who she is now, I think you will go much further than if you try to change her. Maybe aim to make her feel as though you are actually her fairy godmother, someone who loves and blesses her, rather than an evil stepmother who adds hardship to her life.

Sincerely,

June

______

Dear June,

Each year two close friends send me a poinsettia through the local florist and they are so beautiful! This is the third year. I have three cats who should not sample poinsettia! I don’t know how to tell them, and they know I have three cats! I place one plant on top of my fridge and the other on top of my china cabinet. I still enjoy them up high. How do I tell my two good friends maybe to send a Christmas cactus instead?

Kathy M., New York

Dear Kathy,

Since these are close friends, I think a simple, honest, direct approach is best. It is perfectly understandable that people who don’t have cats would have no clue that some houseplants are dangerous for them.

Before you talk to them I would consider three things. First, how would you like to be approached if the roles were reversed? Second, is there anything unique to them that might make a certain approach better than others? And third, approaching this conversation with an emphasis on gratitude will make it easier for both of you, so I would take some time to consider how much you appreciate their friendship and their thoughtfulness in sending you a gift.

If you want a formal suggestion, I would do the following (assuming you are talking on the phone): first, ask how they are doing. If they are going through a hard time, spend some time listening to their concerns. Since you are able to enjoy the gifts and keep your cats safe, your conversation can wait.

If all seems well with them, let them know that you have something on your mind, then say sincerely how much you enjoy their gifts but that because poinsettias are not safe for cats, receiving them has brought you some anxiety. End by asking if it would be possible to send a different kind of plant next year.

Sincerely,
June

Do you have a family or relationship question for our advice columnist, Dear June? Send it to DearJune@EpochTimes.com or Attn: Dear June, The Epoch Times, 229 W. 28th St., Floor 7, New York, NY 10001.

June Kellum is a married mother of two and longtime Epoch Times journalist covering family, relationships, and health topics.