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Do I Really Need To Discuss Politics With My In-Laws?

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Talking politics with your in-laws may be as pleasant as reclining on a bed of nails, but in an election season it's hard to get away from it. I'll pass over the bland advice of being compassionate and understanding and arm you with strategies. A good question can take the place of name-calling and mud-flinging.

I was on a plane recently, and the man sitting next to me was reading a hunting magazine. I am not a hunter, but I know several people who hunt who are nice human beings. They have helped me when my car was stuck, they have let my grandchildren play with their dogs--they're good people. And I am interested in learning why hunters are against gun control. So I began the conversation with a compliment. "I have a question," I said. "I think most gun owners and hunters are responsible people. I don't understand why they would be against gun control when often, they support having driver's licenses, boater's licenses, and they themselves get hunting licenses."

He said, "Well, that's a good question." He in fact felt that automatic rifles should be regulated. He then went on to say that the National Rifle Association has so worked up gun owners to believe that any regulation would prevent them from ever getting more guns or ammunition that they are buying up more ammunition than they will ever use in their lifetime. He felt the whole issue was an economic one. The gun sellers were making too much money to ever allow the issue of regulation to be solved. Now, I realized we had something to go on, a way to begin a conversation and maybe even be a way to craft legislation that would guarantee rights to buy ammunition, but to also control automatic weapons. Those who want to control guns sales and responsible gun owners could probably find a compromise and at least something to talk about.

But you say, "My in-law's are just out to bait me -- they're looking for a fight." So, instead of engaging in verbal warfare, divert the conversation. "Aren't we lucky we agree on so many things. We both love your child, we love the little grand ids. And we are lucky to live in America where we can agree to disagree." Tone is everything here. It makes the difference between a snide remark and a peace offering. A smile and a happy voice signals, "I don't want to change my opinion any more than you do," while a sneer signals disdain.

But if you want to expand your understanding and maybe have an interesting conversation, find an issue you are curious about, one where you truly would like to find out how and why someone could possibly think differently from you. Then ask a question with kindness and curiosity. Don't plan to convert or convince, rather try to find things in the other person's position that interest you and that you're curious about. It's better to try to connect on that point rather than the big ideology where you'll clash. Asking questions and finding out how others think is far less boring than just being nice and avoiding any "hot" topics. Being with your in-laws might just turn out to be a fascinating experience a chance to find out how the other half thinks And like living with a family in a foreign country, you get to see how they operate.

If the answers to questions in the political arena were easy and there were no confounding influences we would have solved all human problems. Adults have a right to differ, and if we want to make peace in our families, we have to try--and I mean really try--to see things to understand the other's thinking. Only then can we differ with respect.

by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Replies (31-40):
Stephanie329
by Platinum Member on Oct. 8, 2012 at 2:28 PM
1 mom liked this
Imagine that, right? Lol

Quoting annabl1970:



Quoting Stephanie329:

No way would I engage my in-laws, particularly my FIL. He is of the assumption that laws should be bible based.  LOL No way


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FrogSalad
by Sooze on Oct. 8, 2012 at 2:30 PM
1 mom liked this

Very much so. 

Quoting annabl1970:

You both have different views on politics? :)

Quoting FrogSalad:

My FIL tries to draw me in but I'm adept at deflecting his attempts.

When all else fails, I just say that I don't discuss politics and then change the subject.




Atheist Mama?  Join us!

How paramount the future is to the present when one is surrounded by children.  Charles Darwin

annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Oct. 8, 2012 at 2:31 PM


Quoting Radarma:

 I found myself in a politalk yesterday with a longtime close friend and he told me I am a "closet conservative". I was fascinated by his observation!


"Closet conservative" it's like "hidden" conservative?

redbutterfly666
by Bronze Member on Oct. 8, 2012 at 2:32 PM

i hate it when my grandparents(dads mom and step dad) and my dad talk about politics on thanksgiving O.O my grandma always ends up crying and my dad always ends up pissed off.....i sit quietly most of the time

redbutterfly666
by Bronze Member on Oct. 8, 2012 at 2:33 PM

but to answer the question my soon to be mil never talks about politics but ALWAYS has to bring up religion O.o

annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Oct. 8, 2012 at 2:33 PM

This is good aproach also.

Quoting GLWerth:

I tell DH's family: "I do not discuss politics or religion with anyone to whom I am related."

If they don't back off, he lets them have it.

He's much more vicious about it than I am.

His sisters don't bring it up anymore after he's gone after each of them. It's so much better to let him deal with them than me. (And more fun) 

 


Healthystart30
by Silver Member on Oct. 8, 2012 at 2:33 PM
1 mom liked this
I don't always agree with my inlaws, they are conservative, I am not, and there are other things we don't really agree on, like how to discipline and such, but we just don't talk about it, the very few times any of it has been brought up I just listen and smile. There is no way I am going to cause family drama because of politics or how to discipline, I much rather come on here and do that.
annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Oct. 8, 2012 at 2:37 PM

What kind of mother she is? This is rude.

Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

The guidelines set forth in this article are only going to effective when the in-laws are reasonable people. I remember the first time I told my MIL that my husband was a kind, thoughtful, generous man and that she likely played a huge role in that. I mentioned that she must be so proud. I was met with a glaring stink eye and a "hmmm".


annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Oct. 8, 2012 at 2:42 PM
1 mom liked this

Tell him people like you is the one who holds politicians to higher standards. It's not that hard to  impress the hard core democrat or republican. But now try to do that with a person who is undecided and will analyze your every word and decision...

Quoting GotSomeKids:

The hubby use to be Dem, now is Rep.  In laws span the spectrum, but mostly I just have a problem with my brother in law.

He's mad that I won't claim a party.  He says its people like me who ruin the system.

About five years ago, I told my hubby if his brother didn't learn a little respect and stop yelling, he ban the subject when he is around.

Meanwhile, my MIL is conservative and my FIL is liberal and I don't have a problem talkign with them at all. 



annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Oct. 8, 2012 at 2:44 PM

That is probably very upsetting, espessially over Holiday dinner :(

Quoting redbutterfly666:

i hate it when my grandparents(dads mom and step dad) and my dad talk about politics on thanksgiving O.O my grandma always ends up crying and my dad always ends up pissed off.....i sit quietly most of the time


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