A few months back, I experienced what a friend of mine and many libertarians and conservative parents say they have experienced: My teenagers started spouting leftist platitudes. Being combative and sarcastic by nature (since all Cubans are born with a sharp tongue), we all ended up angry and frustrated.
Upon subsequent calm reflection, I realized I had accomplished nothing. And so I tried another approach. To my complete surprise, there was a 180-degree turnaround in the teens’ views.
I would now like to share the tactics I used and give the following advice to those who are at wit’s end.
First, realize that it’s traditional for teenagers to contradict their parents’ opinions, which for millennia has led to mutual rancor. So, don’t get angry or sarcastic. Reacting with anger or sarcasm will only result in hardening their viewpoints instead of making their views fluid and changeable.
The fact that you are asking and respect their opinion is half the battle won.
If the teens voice opposition to something that you agree with, simply state, “That’s an interesting point, but don’t you think …”
Don’t push! Even if they retain the same viewpoint, you have chipped away. In a few days, repeat the process with one or more articles.
Calling them a jackass — not a good idea.
They respect objective research and facts, much more than just opinions, so present independent studies that prove that journalists are biased, that liberal college and even faculty members discriminate against conservatives, that liberals sometimes discriminate against Asian Americans and that there are innate psychological and physical differences between genders.
Once in a while, ask them to watch a film with you, such as The Death of Stalin, First They Killed My Father or Ninotchka. Ask their opinion. The downside is almost certainly they, in turn, will ask you to watch with them an inane teen movie which you’ll have to do. (Don’t be too critical.)
If you are one of those rare conservatives that still reads books, tell your child that you want to read The Gulag Archipelago, Who Stole Feminism? or Hollywood Traitors, but you’d like for them to read it first and tell you if it’s any good. Could they please read it first? (Obviously, you’ll have to read it, too.)
As for President Donald Trump, since there is so much propaganda against him, admit his flaws. Yes, of course he’s a flawed individual. He’s bombastic, vulgar, a streetfighter and sexist — after all, he’s a New Yorker. But it’s important not to mistake the messenger for the message, and there is no denying that he has reduced taxes, the economy has skyrocketed, illegal entries in the country have diminished, and the number of terrorist attacks by Muslims may have bottomed. Besides, the liberals love Bill Clinton — and he’s a serial rapist! He’s the Harvey Weinstein of politics.
Importantly: Laugh about Trump. Laugh about yourself. (I bought my son a card stating Trump would build a wall around his birthday cake.)
Many teens also practically live in YouTube. It is a cornucopia of wide-ranging material which you can use. You might want to start with those videos making fun of the radical left — from the amusing to the hilarious.
Likewise, there are many other informative videos. Prager U and Jordan Peterson are tremendous resources on a variety of topics. The ones that demonstrate intimidation and censorship on college campuses. There are other subjects, of course, such as racism hoaxes, illegal voting, crimes by illegal immigrants or Muslims, comic book indoctrination, etc.
Obviously, I have provided too many source. You don’t need to use them all — or any of them. Tailor your use to your interaction with your teenager. It would be a mistake to overwhelm him or her.
But the point here is: Do it before it’s too late.
Armando Simón is a retired psychologist. He is the author of A Cuban from Kansas, Orlando Stories, Wichita Women and The Zapheads and Other Science-Fiction Stories. (These books can be obtained at Amazon and Lulu.)
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.