Disagreement at the Dinner Table


American Psychological Association

Division is tearing us apart in the streets, and at the dinner table

Growing up my parents raised me with their morals and values. They taught me what every parent should teach their kid, how to determine right from wrong, how to be kind, make friends, and clean up after themselves. But another subtle thing some parents like to add in there while raising their kids is their political view. 

In the mornings before school as I walk down the stairs to eat breakfast I am greeted by the sound of Fox News and “President Trump did this” and “Trump is doing great things for this country.” 

Even as I’m writing this I can hear my talking politics in the other room and bashing Joe Biden and his supporters. That’s what I was raised on and all I knew really. 

My parents didn’t verbally tell me their political views and told me I had to agree with them too, they let the TV do the talking for them. Up until relatively recently I agreed with my parents because I thought I was doing the right thing and being a good daughter. I wanted to get along with my older brother and I thought what I had to do to get along with him was to agree with him, and that involved supporting Trump. 

I thought defying my parents’ views like that made me disloyal and I didn’t like the idea of being different from my family. But as I got more involved in politics and educated myself I realized I didn’t agree with my family anymore and that scared me. I didn’t want to be one of the people my parents described to dislike so much, but I knew I was. 

Once I had come to terms with that I stopped talking politics around my family as much because I knew it would just result in an argument or me getting lectured. 

One time my parents were watching the news and my mom asked, “What does Black Lives Matter even want? What is their goal?” and I asked her if she wanted me to answer that or if that was rhetorical.

 I mean what do you mean what do they want? It’s posted everywhere on social media, or on signs. She replied with, “Yes. Please answer.”

So I gave her the answer, “BLM simply wants a reform of the police system and our country’s government to stop racial profiling and discriminating towards black people.” 

After I said that I was lectured about how wrong I was and to never mention BLM in our house again. So I don’t mention it anymore. Whenever I’m alone with my family and anyone asks me about politics I try to change the topic as soon as possible. 

Disagreeing with my parents has resulted in some good and bad things. It has made me my own individual and not just the second born child. I have also educated myself on important topics on my own without the influence of my family. 

Making up my own opinions politically have allowed me to be more confident in my opinion on other things. I don’t have to look to other people for reassurance as much anymore because I know I am able to be an independent. The change of heart politically has also brought me closer to some friends because we agree on more. 

You don’t have to have the same political or moral values to be friends with someone but this has helped me and my friends come closer. A lot of my friends have called my change “some of the best character development they’ve ever seen.” And I take that as a compliment because I really have changed so much in the past year.

If you were to compare me now to me a year ago you would see a totally different person with completely different values and morals. And it’s okay to change your mind. I was so scared to verbalize my new opinions because I didn’t want to be a hypocrite but I’ve learned that it doesn’t make me hypocritical it makes me educated and stronger.