The beat goes on: Politics dividing families

Election cycle exacerbates existing
problems between parents and adult children
 

by Sheri McGregor

politics dividing familiesIt’s happening again. Adult children are insisting their parents change their political views—or else.  Are politics dividing families?

Tunnel vision

Four years ago, several parents wrote to me, distraught over sons and daughters who threatened to disown them because their politics didn’t align. This time, more parents are sharing their stories, and the rhetoric is more intense. 

Here are a few examples: 

  • A father writes that his grown daughters started college and adopted an entitlement mentality. Although he raised them with values that included working for what they wanted in life, he reports, “They say life should be easy and believe that everything should be free. An odd teaching from a college that isn’t cheap.” He has required that they work to pay for part of their education and pitch in around the house, which his daughters don’t like. They have decided they don’t like him, and have become downright rude. While not physically estranged, emotionally and in their worldview, they’re on another planet. As the Presidential election draws near, they disrespect his views, and often tell him, “OK, Boomer,” (a new phrase young people use to dehumanize elders). The daughters, though, may be in for a surprise. Dear old Dad is growing weary of their surly superiority. He’s contemplating booting from the house and no longer paying their tuition. 
  • Another father says his son, who had been fully estranged for more than two years, was careless about Covid-19. The son called to check in on his dad but wasn’t empathetic to his fears. “He says the virus is politicized,” the father says. “He doesn’t get what it’s like to be in your seventies plus have another health risk factor.” 
  • A widowed mother writes that her 34-year-old son cannot tolerate her fiscally conservative views. When he repeatedly made every conversation political, insisting his “far-left” opinions were right, she suggested they agree to disagree and talk about other things. He said he couldn’t separate politics from the rest of his life and called her a racist. Shocked by the charge, she says, “I asked him for examples, which he couldn’t provide.” He yelled at her, repeating the word “racist,” louder and louder as he stood over her chair. Shaken by his obnoxious rancor, she asked him to leave and stop coming around until he could control himself. That was two months ago and, other than a few emails in which he continues to harangue her, there has been no contact. She says, “I love him and wish things were better between us, but he doesn’t get to choose what I believe.” 

 

  • Another mother says her son rejected her and her husband (his father) during the last Presidential election year. When it came to their votes, it was his way or the highway. Two years later, he began reaching out and even brought their grandson for a visit. After that, they video chatted every few weeks. Recently though, his demeanor has changed. “As the election draws near, I can feel him rejecting us again,” she says. Their daughter, with whom they have shared a good relationship, is also now putting political views ahead of them. She recently sent her mother a text saying if they didn’t dissolve their assets and “support the revolutionaries,” she would stop all contact. The mother replied that at their age, they would support just causes on their own terms. The mother went on to encourage her daughter to do something to make a difference about what she believes: “Volunteer to clean up, rather than destroy. Get a teaching degree and educate the next generation for a better life. Or get a law degree and help those needing assistance.” The daughter’s reply was “rote.” These children are 37 and 39. “Old enough to know better,” as their mother says.   

What I see in these stories is bullying, disrespect, and even arrogance. That’s not so different than other estrangement situations. These “children” are like many who harshly judge their parents in terms of what they determine are unchangeable traits. Then they use these so-called traits to justify the rejection. This is the opposite of parents, who most often try to sidestep conflicts and get along. Or, as the widowed mother above says, “Agree to disagree.”  That’s why the parents whose son rejected them over the last election welcomed him back with open arms. They try and empathize. Living and working where he does is worlds away than his quaint hometown, where his parents still live. He’s adopted different values. It’s too bad that, at least during the election cycle, he has trouble seeing his parents as whole people. They may differ politically but are still worthy and good.  

Do politics bring out what’s already there? 

The political season amps up the opinionated and highlights the intolerance of those who insist that others agree, but some parents have faced similar strong-arming all along. Those whose children make a stink about their views might look at the current behavior with an eye to the past. Upon reflection, the widow whose son calls her a racist says, “He’s always been a bully. Politics just makes it more intense.”  

 Maybe your political views are very important to you, so when your “children” say those opinions are immoral, wrong, or stupid, it’s tougher than usual to try and keep the peace. That thought begs the question: Should you always stand down? Sometimes, preserving your own peace takes precedence over trying to get along.  

I can understand the father whose daughters dishonor him. It’s tough to live with adults who devalue you and your beliefs. Maybe he’s right, and the school of hard knocks will remind his daughters of the lessons he once instilled in them: ideals about adult responsibility that their college culture has apparently erased.  

For the parents whose son and daughter have rejected the salt-of-the-Earth values they were raised with, peace means recognizing that the world has changed. Nowadays, political rhetoric is often about right and wrong. Everything from global warming to eating meat has become an issue. These parents believe the fear that now permeates every facet of society has taken away all the fun. “People used to get dirty, drink out of a hose, and not be so worried all the time,” the mother says. The couple can only offer their children messages of love and encourage their interests as they always did. Meanwhile, they’ll vote as they deem best.   

Politics dividing families: What do you think? 

In the peer support forum here at the site, political discussions are not allowed. That rule has not changed, but I want parents whose children reject them for their political beliefs to know they are not alone. Here, in comments to this article, I hope you will share your experiences in this regard and support one another. Please be respectful and kind.   

 Related reading

 The turning point

When your estranged adult child wants nothing to do with you: Go with the flow?

53 thoughts on “The beat goes on: Politics dividing families

  1. AvatarMaydon

    wow. I was crying when I finished these posts. There is a common thread that runs through it. Although politics and education have the finger pointed at them, no one really ‘KNOWS’ the answer, do they? I know I don’t. I went to college and became a nurse after, and she went to university. She always pointed that out to me. But on the ward, the nurses are head over the social workers. She didn’t like that. Sometimes…I think we are living in the ‘Last Days’. With the pandemic and the way our kids are acting, something is sure going on. Not to proselytize, but I’m doing more bible reading that I ever have. Just a thought.

    Reply
  2. AvatarCassandra

    I have two adult sons. Recently, one of them told me my political opinions were dangerous, and I should be careful where I speak such things because my words could be considered ‘violent’ and bad things might happen to me. Huh? Say what? I can assure you, nothing I said was violent in any way – but I disagreed with his politics, so now I am ‘dangerous’? I was shocked to hear this from my own son! My other son, who share’s his brother’s views, told me I was ‘morally corrupt’ in regard to my opinions on immigration. This was from a child for whom I was providing room, board, car insurance, a cell phone, wi-fi, and a vehicle to drive. Yet I was the morally corrupt one whom he felt could still afford to support many others. I told him maybe I would give his car away to someone else then, since he seemed to feel other people needed my support more than he did. That didn’t go over too well. He got the point, but it didn’t really help because he still feels he is righteous in his views and has a kind of superior moral standing over me because of them. In his mind, I am an intolerant, racist, morally corrupt person with dangerous opinions that no one should ever be allowed to have. For both of my sons, their feelings about my personal political opinions changed and became much more extreme during college. Because of this, I cannot brush off the apparent radicalizing effects of their college years, but I also know I was perhaps too indulgent toward them growing up. I am guilty of trying to make both their lives easier than mine had been. Today, I am tired of walking on eggshells with them and being judged for my beliefs. Both of my sons have withdrawn from me more and more over time recently – as if I’ve suddenly become a leper. I just don’t understand how everything I have done as a mother, as a person, and everything I’ve worked to give them all my life can mean nothing to them now. All that seems to matter is that I don’t agree with their political and social viewpoints. I just don’t understand how they could come to believe such awful things about me while missing the bigger picture of who I am and have always been as their mother regardless of any political stance. And sometimes I miss them both so much I just cry and cry. But enough is enough. I am going to have to learn to accept that all I can do is pray for God to open their hearts and that they will return to me again some day once they have lived long enough to understand better what it means to be a parent.

    Reply
    1. AvatarLaurie B.

      I’m so sorry this is happening to you. My son hasn’t spoken to me since January 6th, when I texted him that a threat of democracy was taking place, and he asked if it was Antifa, and I said no, it looks like white supremacy. He then said I was crossing a line, and should not have brought this up and that I have no boundaries. And that I would not see him for awhile. I don’t understand. I never had an agenda that day. I was scared, and voiced it with someone I love. My son. I’m still crying, but am trying to keep going.

  3. AvatarJudy

    We have been ghosted by my stepdaughter, who dislikes our conservative politics. In addition, my mother-in-law has jumped on the bandwagon as well. Neither has had any words with us. They simply stopped taking our calls and responding to our emails. They didn’t even acknowledge our holiday gifts. Radio silence. This is so distressing. I have absolutely NO problem with them having differences of opinion, but just disappearing? With no warning? No debate? Not even an argument? What in the world is happening here?

    Reply
    1. AvatarMaydon

      I think they’re on the spaceship with my daughter! Seriously. Four years ago that’s what happened to my daughter. She just up and cut me off of email, social media, etc., and no phone number! There is just silence.
      I called her in Oct. where she was working and she called back but would not allow me one word. She said if I spoke she would hang up. She brought up things that were very trivial and exaggerated them to the point that it made me feel guilty! Things that happened forty years ago that I couldn’t even remember. And there was hatred in her voice. I thought I was going to pass out after the call. I ended hanging up. I don’t know what to do! Where is my sweet little girl? My best friend? Nowhere to be found in that voice. Like you, I pray to the Lord every night that she will come to her senses but I just don’t know!

  4. AvatarNanette

    My son’s wife is a devout Catholic. Her political beliefs border on paranoia. She won’t allow my son to visit and when I visit them, she gets pretty sassy. My son says her mother is his ‘real’ mom. I don’t care anymore. I just think they are nuts. I’ll take a trip to see them when this virus is over, but I’m not holding my breath. I’ve expended enough energy over the years trying to be the best mom in the world. Sorry, kids. Not happening anymore.

    Reply
    1. AvatarMaydon

      How do I get to where you are? How did you overcome the grief that accompanies this situation? I salute you for staying you and staying strong. Somedays I am just a shadow of who I was.

  5. AvatarSusan

    So glad I found this site. I thought I was all alone until now .
    My 19 yo daughter and I have always been close, she would talk about all kinds of issues going on with her. We would do things together talk and have amazing conversations. We gave her an amazing life, private school, college,car, etc….. Big mistake
    Then When she started college about 2 years Ago something changed with her. I could not do or say anything right, she was very defiant, if I got angry she would expect an apology and it better be a sincere one or she would not accept it.
    Her boyfriend is a lot of the issue, he would analyze me and talk with my daughter about what I was doing wrong. He would fill her head with crazy ideas to put a wedge between us. I told her I do not want her boyfriend spending the night, because not married and too young, so she goes to boyfriends house and spendS night there where his parents don’t say anything about it .
    Next, I was not allowed to get angry if she did something wrong,, no raising voice had to always be calm. (I’m fricking humaN, I get mad) then she Thinks I brainwashed her because I’m a newsaholic and have the news on. I’m a Trump supporter and we would go to Trump rallies together but now she hates him and she keeps telling me I am obsessed with him and I talk about him from time I get up to time I go to bed((noT true I have a life) she blocked me and my family from all social media because she did not want to see one thing political on our socials. I do NOT talk politics when she is her but she will get triggered if she sees a text to my family about politics. Not allowed to have news on when and if she visits. She does not want me going to rallies to see Trump, can’t post anything, can’t show any concern about anything political, can’t talk to my sister about politics or my mom. If she finds out then I am taking politics over family.
    When she does visit she is very warm to everyone but me. Very cold and short answers, almost fake like towards me. She was never a big fan of her dad (aggregator, annoying kind of dad) but now she laughs and has great conversations with him when I am there. She over Exaggerates the fun I suppose to hurt me, because I am not included.
    My daughter never liked her boyfriends mother, But now since she pretty much lives over there (5 minutes away from me) she spends all this time with her, making Christmas cookies, having movie night , game board night etc.. .I am the outsider now.
    She does not talk to me about anything anymore unless she wants something.
    My other daughter is 17 and super caring and kind. I have been focusing on her because she make me smile and feel loved.

    I have cried so much that I just can’t cry anymore. I was very depressed, hurt and sad that she is treating me so bad with everything I have done for her and showed her so much love. I really am not sure what to do. Reading this page and comments have help a lot But I still don’t know how to handle this situation.
    When she does come over I put on a happy face and not say anything that will trigger her. But that is hard to do when I cry all the time. The short time we are together, intensional or not she says or does things that just driveS the knife further in.
    Sorry for any mistakes

    Reply
    1. AvatarLaurie B.

      I have been estranged from my oldest son a couple of times. He is 31 now. The first time was for indoctrination of religion and politics. I never told him how to believe, just modeled good values. His dad was pretty extreme to to left. I try to just stay somewhat balanced. Last night (we’ve been pretty close again) I texted my concerns about the insurrection at our capital, and he said “serves them right.” Then he accused me of bringing up politics with him, and that was not my intention at all. I literally thought it was an unthinkable act- not right vs. left! He said that I don’t have good boundaries and that he is blocking me (again). He punishes me. He learned it from his dad (my ex) and I wept for 2 hours. I thought our relationship was going so well. I feel like I have to walk on eggshells. I’m sad and also tired of punishing people. I don’t deserve that.

  6. AvatarNotSadAnymore

    Honestly, we are living in different times now. Everything we have taught our children have been reversed through education, media farce and pop culture. My adult children became disrespectful and I have zero tolerance, as I was raised by my parents not to allow your children to disrespect you. These kids had it too good. They blame their parents for all of their problems and no accountability to their own actions.

    Enough is enough, I have let go and let God handle both of my adult children.

    A elderly client had shared this with me… Make the children earn your love. And that is what I have done.

    Both children are out of my will, and all of my assets are to charities to help our wounded warriors. They are more deserving in my opinion, than my own children. They risk their lives so we have security in ours.

    I am a happier person, not living with their drama and able to enjoy my life again.

    Good luck to all, and you can only rely on yourself for happiness. If you rely on others, you will be disappointed.

    Reply
    1. AvatarRosemary M.

      I find all these posts interesting, but from the opposite end. I am left of center and have been since 1964. I believe in racial and gender equality, health care for all, equality based on gender identity and sexual orientation, helping your neighbor and am very much anti-fascist. My son (who graduated college Cum Laude) began listening to Alex Jones and has turned into a racist, xenophobic person. How to deal with that? I started attending therapy because of it. It tears at my heart to think I raised a son who thinks racism and misogyny are OK. Part of me wants to cut all ties and part of me does not. I’m sure it’s a struggle for all parents when their kids reject their values.

    2. AvatarMary T.

      I fully agree with you! My 31 year old son told me yesterday that he has had much ‘peace’ in his deviant lifestyle since not speaking to me 7 months ago. My 30 year old daughter has a therapist telling her for the past 2 years that it is not “emotionally healthy’ for her to have a relationship with me. But guess what? My sister pointed out that I’ve probably had a lot of peace of my own since they’ve been gone. And she’s right! I’ve realized that I truly enjoy my life without them in it. No more drama, judging, walking on eggshells, keeping my political and religious beliefs to myself. I’m free to be the person God has created me to be since they’ve left me. I will continue to embrace my life and the peace I’ve been blessed with.aybe someday if they grow up we can have an adult relationship. Until then, my life is my own to live the way I see fit!

  7. AvatarMelody

    I’ve been reading the post from Sheri McGregor’s web site for some time now and this is the first time I am commenting, my daughter who went to college decided to let go of everything we taught her, she does not believe in God and has taken on the far left ideology of Socialism. We are conservative in our beliefs and so we tried to skirt any of the political issues that would surely separate us from our child, then came the election and her party did not win, that opened up a whole can of worms and she started lashing out at us because of it. She started blaming everything that did not fit in her political agenda on us and said horrible things about both my husband and I. I could not take the abuse after awhile and the hurt that she was causing both my husband and I so I quit responding to her after many attempts at trying to fix the situation and also telling her that you do not choose politics over family , she then moved out of state and we have not seen her in almost five years. This new far left movement encourages disowning your parents if they are not on board with their ideology, almost like a cult. Sad that she was once such a loving, giving and good child and changed completely after college. She is our only child and it is sad that we have lost touch with her but we have to move on with our lives in order to stay sane, you only have so many years on this earth.

    Reply
    1. AvatarMary T.

      I fully agree with you. Both my children cut me off for my conservative beliefs and values. I was a very good Mom, despite having depression and anxiety all their lives. I was home full time, and gave them every ounce of me until I was completely empty. We were very close – until they went to their extremely liberal college, ASU. Once they got their degrees in Nursing and Psychology (above all things ), they had no use for me and their father. They hate us both equally. My son’s ‘partner’ has 2 parents who are their cheerleaders in their very wrong lifestyle. We’ve been replaced by them. My ex’s wife is their new ‘motger’ and they don’t care if they ever hear from me again. I was told by him yesterday that if anything ‘serious’ comes up, I know where to find him. I told him if anything serious comes up, he’ll be the last person I contact. I now finally have some peace, knowing that I don’t have to deal with their drama and selfish lifestyles. I’m looking forward to living my own life from now on. God bless you,vstay strong in Him.

  8. AvatarJennifer S.

    Society has, for quite a few decades now shouted… “Sing your own kind of music”. “Do your own thing”. “Let me be myself”. And so on, and so on.
    The celebration of the individual at the expense of the society/group/family.
    Their seems to be an expectation that the parents must be perfect. No deviation tolerated!!! When I was a child, I though my parents, were perfect. Then, as I became an adult, I saw they were human, with feet of clay. Did I stop loving them? Did I criticise them? No! I loved them all the more!!!
    Children today, tolerate nothing less than perfection, perfection according to their standard I might add. And may your God help you if you fall short in any way!!!
    Despite the deep sorrow they give us, spare a thought for them. As ye sow…..Do you think they will live up to the perfection they held their parents to? If there is blame to be allocated, it is to the post war society. Which I might add, we tolerated.

    Reply
  9. AvatarJames

    You absolutely must not bow to the pressure; you are the mommy/daddy; they are the child. Here’s how I handle my relatives:

    Firstly, I NEVER bring up the subject, and if confronted, I deflect – “I don’t talk politics.” Period.

    If they persist, I use the following phrase, without variation: “Susie (or whoever), we are talking the Book of Life here. You are on page eighteen (or whatever it is); I am on page sixty-seven. I have BEEN on page eighteen, plus a whole hell of a lot of pages you haven’t seen yet. You don’t know enough about the subject to even discuss it with me, let alone lecture. Go and educate yourself, and then if you can convince me you know anything about the subject and can maintain a civil tongue in your head, then we can talk. Next subject.

    And I never respond further.

    Reply
    1. AvatarMary Beth W.

      That is the most brilliant, to the point and mature response to political confrontation by young adults who have been spoon fed socialist ideology. I will remember that, and certain that a situation will arise again where there will be unsolicited political lectures by those still on page 18. That response will help me keep the peace, while reminding them of their lack of insight through experience. Thankyou!!

  10. AvatarToni

    I share many of experiences with my only son. He cut his dad off 3 years ago because he “was always complaining”(We are divorced). Two years ago it was my turn and to this day I cannot get an answer as to why. I believe it is something inside of him and also his wife and in-laws .( who must have all the attention and homage.) I think they have aggravated my son’s thinking and support him so he can be all theirs. No pathologies, no drugs, violence etc in our lives to point to. But suddenly, I was informed that I didn’t know anything about anything and anything I said or suggested was flipped off with disdain. Both of them have lost their faith and raise their two toddlers with no religion except Christmas gifts. Then, it got to the election of 2016. Final contact was June 2019. What I don’t get is why it still bothers me so much and hurts so much and that I still care so much. I have redone my will and left all I will have at my death to various charities. This is my second Christmas alone and, thanks to COVID, I will be all alone.

    Reply
    1. AvatarCindy S.

      It’s true. Some parents cheer when a kid of theirs cuts off the ex-spouse but they miss the point .. if the kid does it to one parent, said kid can (and just might) do it as easily to other parent .. YOU.

  11. AvatarPolly

    Hi from the UK,
    Thank you for being back on board Sheri.
    I read these posts this morning and felt my stomach churn which sums up the effect this is having on us all.
    And I was amazed to see this is something affecting, not idealistic teens or 20 somethings but those heading toward 40.
    I have one daughter of 36. She has a partner, 31 and 2 children. My adored grandsons who I no longer see.
    B. grew up with the best life I could give her. Private education, travel, support, love and unbelievable opportunities came her way. As her father said, we would have killed for these opportunities. None of which she took. Her partner had none of these. He has lived in the same council flat his entire life, – they both live there now with the children,- His father committed suicide when he was 10, did go to university and had a growing career as a model which he rejected. He is now a highly skilled carpenter. But… their politics are left wing which I have respected. Mine are liberal /conservative which they do not respect. But worse she seems to think that whatever I have she may help herself to , and I have until recently been as generous as possible.
    At 65, she suggested that I move into a house with them in a county they wanted to be in, across the otherside of the country from my own friends, that I put my money into a house purchase with them and her partner would renovate it. But….. I was not allowed to interfere with his renovation decisions despite my extensive experience in the field and it being my capital funding it, I was not allowed to introduce any boyfriend I might have until she had vetted him first, food and cooking was decreed by her and there was more and more. I was racist and white privileged and she told me I was not allowed to mention my support of certain politicians and the Brexit vote because her partner would be “mortified!” But I noted he was prepared to use the money I had worked so hard for.
    I finally saw sense after they left the boys with me for a few days while they went off partying and came back with disapproval of whatever I had done.- it was the summer so the evening bath was in the sunshine in the paddling pool outside and instead of the usual reading we watched Shrek in 20 minute bursts each evening with the boys curled up under my arms. ” Thats not happening now we are back!” she declared in my house . The last I saw of my 4 year old grandson as they left was him walking backwards saying , “You won’t watch Shrek without me will you Granny P?” I was not allowed to see them to the car. It was demanded I stay in my garden. She was furious I had decided that living together was a bad idea. A decision I sent in an email with no recriminations and saying I just felt the time was wrong but love always etc. No speaking for months and months. Only abuse for missing a BD without asking if I was Ok. I was not but that is too long for here.
    The following summer it suited her for me to have the boys again. But…. after she left them with me I discovered she had left a block of hash in her beside drawer. Something she knew I had been concerned about her use since she was 16 and had begged her not to do as it affected her mental health. There is more to this in the intervening years which had caused all sorts of periods of estrangement until I came to the rescue with airfares etc. Very calmly I told her that I could not tell her how to live her life, but this was not on my time and not on my territory. That she had 2 beautiful children and needed to reassess her life and what she was doing etc. Her reaction was to tell me in a nasty voice not to be so petty. This was after a week of them consuming my store of red wine which they offered to pay for but of course had no intention of doing so as this was a common occurrence whenever they visited. When I returned the children to her, and for the first time ever I asked for the reimbursement which was argued with and given eventually with resentment when I gaily suggested she could post it. She has not spoken to me since.
    In some ways I am glad as I do not have to endure her anger directed at me. However I do miss the children. And as a consequence of this ongoing estrangement I feel a lesser person and it is embarrassing to mention it as I know I am judged in this age of levelling a pseudo fairness to all untoward events and relationships . The old ‘2 sides to every story’ sometimes does not apply but try telling my heart that. I still feel I have done something terribly wrong to be treated this way.
    Polly

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Dear Polly, I’m sorry for all you have been through. You write vividly and I feel for your little gc who can’t watch Shrek with you now … That memory! Oh, so sad. You’re a good person. Yes … the judgment. It is unjust.

      Hugs dear Polly. Be well.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. AvatarMaydon

      Polly,
      Give that guilt over to the Lord if you can. Or throw it in the trash. I made a list of all the things I ‘did’ do for my daughter and all the things she complained about in her phone call.
      I won.
      I know in my heart of hearts that she knew she was loved more than life itself! It doesn’t stop the pain and I miss her so much I could die some mornings, but she cannot say, nor can any of these kids, that we didn’t love them and I’m sure of that as I read on!

  12. AvatarGinger

    I here a lot here about blaming schools and the Left. My son disowned me for not voting for Trump. Says he chooses Trump over me. I think the problem goes much deeper than differences in political views. Politics is a fuel for the fire.

    Reply
    1. AvatarCatherine W.

      I have the exact same problem with variations in details. My daughter is in her later 40’s and is a middle school teacher. We used to have fun together, but since 2008, to her I am stupid, crazy, a freak, and a string of dehumanizing epithets. She never used profanity. Now every other word is vulgar language. She throws provocative verbal bombs at me, screams at me, and is generally disrespectful. She frequently makes ridiculous accusations based on her assumptions only. There are times when she is thoughtful and nice. But she very rarely calls me, unless she wants something, usually money, which I do not really have much of. She won’t answer my calls or texts, pretending she doesn’t see them. She is always “too busy”. She has been aggressive all her life, and was a difficult child, but now she is a bully, claiming all the while that she is not only absolutely correct, but even morally superior. Never mind that she deliberately overlooks her husband’s shoplifting, thefts and other petty crimes. Politics is EVERYTHING to her and since I don’t agree with her politics, I get a load of verbal abuse. For someone who purports to be of the “party of compassion and tolerance”, she shows little to me. She demands strict ideological conformity to her leftist ideology an has zero tolerance for views other than her own. She even justifies violence in the name of her party, making excuses for, blaming blameless others lr flatly denying that it exists. I am worn out from this behavior. I also worry for my grandchildren. She is harsh and outright mean to them often, then makes an instant change into niceness and back. Sometimes I wonder if she is bipolar, or her superior attitude is due to her politics that have overtaken her. It is heartbreaking when I remember our happy days together before she went to graduate school.

    2. AvatarCatherine W.

      No family should be divided over politics. We have very little control over what happens in politics, aside from local participation and our votes. It is not worth losing precious time with those we love over politics.

  13. AvatarJan T.

    I am glad I found this blog. I, too, am experiencing a similar situation with my 35 year old daughter. She lives in Chicago and has been heavily influenced by her peers, her husband, and far left wing propaganda. When asked who I voted for, I was honest in my reply. I did not hear from her again for weeks. I received a text saying she was taking my voting for a “racist” very hard and needed space. I responded that I would not have politics come between family, that I loved her, and that I was always open to talking. I then received an email that was downright bullying. Again, I responded that I chose not to get into an email exchange that put me in a lose lose situation and to hope for the best as the country moves forward. Again, another email asking if I had time to “reflect” on things along with three news sources to prove she was right and I was wrong. Of course, the narrative of all three sources were far left and very politically divisive. I had to just stop engaging as it just didn’t matter what I said. In her mind I am a racist. She is married to a Hispanic and now says she must protect her baby from me.
    I raised my children to not see color. I am a Christian and have tried to demonstrate grace. But this is ridiculous and hurtful, too. My other two adult children did not vote as I did, but they have not cut me out of their lives.
    I see this as extreme immature and self righteous behavior. I have shared that I respect her position, but it is not her job, nor mine, to try to change the other person’s point of view.
    She will text but there are subtle digs that I will not respond to; subtle ways to try and hurt me. But I will not cave to this behavior. This is the choice she is making, not mine. I continue to respond in love….but with boundaries. My hope is that one day she will snap out of this….but maybe she won’t. Time will tell.

    Reply
  14. AvatarJulie

    One thing I noticed with mine is that the child who struggled the least is the furthest left; and the one who worked for everything is the furthest right. I think we “helped” the one too much, not wanting him to fail because the consequences of failure today seem so greatly magnified; people are not allowed to make mistakes. He’s coming back around now that he sees a good paycheck and what’s missing from it.

    I have problems with one of mine other than politics…

    Reply
  15. AvatarCarol B.

    Thank you for raising this subject. My experience is like that of many others in that my 41-year-old daughter decided last December that I was no longer welcome in her life. She sited differences in our political viewpoints as the reason, but given that we’ve never been aligned politically, this rings hollow. There’s a new husband on the scene and insidiously he’s succeeded in separating her from her family and friends, using politics as the excuse. Of course I have great concern about his hold over my once kind, loving, funny daughter, but I’ve come to truly believe it’s out of my hands.

    There’s been no communication from her – at all – and of course I no longer see my granddaughter, a special needs child who I had a very close relationship with. They live 20 minutes away from me. But, life does go on and the difficult days are fewer. And really, the bottom line for me is that I don’t want to be with anyone who doesn’t want to be with me. I wish her well and am sad that our lives no longer converge, but I believe in God’s plan, always.

    It’s been quite a rollercoaster these past months and I’m very happy to have found Sheri’s book, it’s been a Godsend. As has been said often, this is a club I never wanted to join but here I am and life is still good. Faith, friends, and unexpected gifts like this site smooth the way.

    Reply
  16. AvatarL.B.

    I can’t tell you how glad I am to find your article. The last couple of weeks have been h… with our daughter. She came after us a couple of years ago angry about something and berated us 9 days straight through text messaging. I had never been through that before with her. I vowed I would never let that happen again. It took a toll on my health. Well it’s happening again, over our beliefs politically and religiously and is much worse this time. We have blocked her on pretty much everything. Not because we want to, but the stress is too much. She tries to divide us as a couple by going after one of us w/blame about the other….she takes turns. We can never say anything right, twists everything we say and if we don’t say anything she gets belligerent too. It feels like harassment and bullying. It leaves me feeling like a complete failure (although I am learning it is not me but her). She has said such hurtful things to us. She has even showed some of our conversations to her in-laws saying “they agree with her” on what she thinks about us. I almost feel like we need legal help. I am seeking out a counselor at the moment. Sometimes I honestly feel like I am losing my mind because it just keeps going and its such insanity. I can’t believe this is my daughter. Thank you for this. Now I know we are not alone. I am so sorry for anyone else going through this. Are there support groups yet for this kind of abuse??

    Reply
    1. AvatarDebs

      So sorry to hear you feel bullied and that it’s affecting your health. We had the same from our daughter. For whatever reason, we could no longer converse with her. Everything we said or did was wrong and bearing in mind this starred in 2015 and was still happening last Christmas, we had to draw a line. Like you I tried to reach out and she responded by writing obscenities and defamatory remarks about us on a private family FB group. I asked for an apology but she continued that she had told everyone she knew that we were terrible parents, wished we’d never been at her wedding and hoped we’d die.
      I was just at a point of recovery having moved home in 2017, partly because we had to and partly to get away from this toxic behaviour. Needless to say, it really rocked us emotionally and we made a vow that we would not reach out again to preserve our mental and emotional health. We still care obviously but we cannot be in contact with her again. You have to put yourself first. Stay strong and keep well. These ‘kids’ are old enough to know there are consequences for their actions.

  17. AvatarDiane M.

    I dont really understand the American system of politics or education. I would hesitate to blame educators, but here in New Zealand, we see the negative impact of social media. People are no longer well equipped to converse face to face as so much communication is via social media. Too easy to be rude, dismissive and intolerant. We need to be mindful to lead by example. Be gracious and kind, it’s a big ask in trying times, haha!! Does make some give pause though.

    Reply
  18. MorganaMorgana

    I’m not sure where the intolerance of a different point of view, or even the possibility of one, has come from but the old/young division here in the UK regarding Brexit certainly stirred up a hornets nest. Of course it was never as simple as that but older people who remember life outside the EU where thoroughly vilified for voting to leave. Of course many young people did as well but that was conveniently overlooked by MSM.
    It’s the arrogance of ‘ my way or the highway ‘ which amazes me.

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Morgana,

      Thank you for sharing something relevant from a country other than the U.S. This is not a strictly U.S. problem, obviously!

      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

  19. AvatarMarlis

    Hi Elisabeth
    I do not lay sleepless over our political disagreements. We disagree about most other things too and it gets really irritating when we are lectured about things we have experienced and our daughter has not, but at my age i
    have started to not Care anymore. Let her have her opinion and feel superior. My husband and me are Just making the most of the time we have left
    as i feel it is a now or never kind of time where you have to let go of a lot of things. And we behave a bit as if we had no children (before we were married) It is quite liberating instead of worrying (they never worry about us) and always let them come first as we have done for years. I hope i can keep it up.
    Keep well and all the best

    Reply
    1. AvatarElizabeth

      I do understand Marlis…it is all we can do…I guess for myself, I worry more how things may go if I outlive my husband…or he me…for the one left it will be hard!! But I also trust GOD to help us. This has not been an easy path…none of it really. I had a hard enough life prior to marriage, after marriage and all the way on. Yes, everyone has troubles…but not everyone has this sort. And so nice of Sheri to provide this place to share!! Just remember you are not alone!!!

  20. AvatarPM

    A large contributor to parental estrangement is the western educational system. We have trusted the K-12 public schools with educating our children. That trust has been betrayed by teaching them a far-left ideology that rejects Judeo-Christian values. Our kids have learned far-left ideology over many years that targets the nuclear family for destruction. Once at the university level they are already primed for further brainwashing by socialist/communist ideology. The sad thing is that we unwittingly have paid for their brainwashing and betrayal of their family. It is very hard for these young indoctrinated adults to recover from far-left brainwashing. Parents unfortunately have no chance to remedy the damage. My heart goes out to all of these parents who are suffering with grief and loss. Thank you Sheri for your work in helping all of us to believe in a better tomorrow.

    Reply
    1. AvatarKathleen

      I think you are mistaken in blaming our educational system. The U.S. has many Christians, but the Constitution separates church and state. I am an educator and I can assure you that in K-12 the teachers are imparting the state-mandated curriculum and have no interest in indoctrinating their students. Further, I am relatively liberal and my daughter is too, yet I still have to contend with her distotions.

  21. AvatarLois G.

    Just before my oldest son became estranged from us two years ago, he told me it is elitist to vote Green. I was flabbergasted. He probably used our political differences as a pretext to pull away, but I do think he meant what he said. It was an ill informed statement, but not uncommon unfortunately.

    My other son is more understanding of my politics although I know he won’t vote like me in November.

    Greens have a saying; no vote shaming. Indeed.

    Reply
  22. AvatarBerna

    To Julie
    I agree completely. School and universities have a huge influence on our children and there is not much we can do about it as at one point they are adults. I wont mention which spectrum the teachers and professors belong to as this poste might be deleted. In my country (Denmark) small children spend too much time in daycare and Kindergarten and not so much with their parents. All this is undermining the family and a sense of belonging and ultimately results in a lack of respect for your parents i think.
    Social media is encouraging disrespect towards others. You can say anything you want even to your parents.
    These are huge changes in our society. Like you i would never have disrespected my parents and actually at a young age was aware of the hard times and the sacrifices they had to make.
    Our Young people have so many choices nowadays and opportunities. Maybe that is the problem. And parents just dont mean what they used to. We better get used to that.

    Reply
  23. AvatarPEGGY W.

    This needs to posted on your FB page to share with so many estranged parents desperately trying to understand their estrangement.

    Reply
  24. AvatarJoan

    A couple of thoughts. First of all, young adults of my generation (I am 60), would have never said to their parents “OK Boomers”. How disrespectful! Politics or not, it just didn’t happen. And thinking back to the 1960’s, even though the younger generation was against the Vietnam War, I don’t recall that they demanded that the parents acquiesce to their political views or be “disowned”. Conservative older adults were well aware of the “new generation”, and that was that. It was “live and let live”.
    I think social media is definitely fueling the hatred and downright meanness that we see being displayed in the world today. I also think that these young adults, aside from feeling very strong about their point of view, feel invalidated when their parents don’t adopt their values. They need to “separate” from their parents, strengthen their sense of self and not feel so threatened if their parents don’t see things their way. And that takes some maturity.

    Reply
  25. AvatarElizabeth

    I think what a lot of families are experiencing today is exactly what the education system in this country hoped to produce…the lack of family closeness or ties altogether. We have 1 of our 3 kids who is at the extreme opposite of us in the political area. Fortunately none of us try to be rude or mean about it and often do not discuss things. If she did not need us so badly, due to her bad divorce and ensuing troubles, maybe our situation would be different. What we see in our daughter is that she has basically replaced her religious upbringing with a political party…people will believe in something…make something else into their god. We see that. I should mention that in the past decade we left the religion we raised our kids in and joined another…so for our 2 kids who are religious, that has been hard. We understand that…though we had every reason to do as we did. But for those 2, strangely enough, politics we DO agree on. But for other reasons, 1 of them has next to nothing to do with us (it is called when a son takes a wife). We live in a very sad time. One of great intolerance and lack of family ties. I have great empathy for those facing such extreme demands from their children…basically a disavowal of all the values that were held by their parents. I feel that any child for whom one would change their political views, in order to please them, the demands would not stop there…in time that child would demand something else. We live in a time of entitlement…and a forgetting of what good manners mean…and the fact that truely we DO NOT HAVE to say everything we think!!

    Reply
    1. AvatarElizabeth

      Marlis, Please do not beat yourself up as to how things have gone for you. The ONLY reason 2 of our 3 agree with us politically is pure and simple…they are GOD followers. Our other child is most definitely not. Our older 2 were in college at the same time, and our son told us his sister believed “all the stupid fluff” whereas he most definitely did not. I DID homeschool…though the older 2 just part of their elementary years and for about 1/3 of their classes and the youngest 100% from start to entering college age. We lived in one of the most awful towns in the USA in my opinion, most all the years our kids were at home. My husband tried to get a job elsewhere, but we were chained there. Finally we were able to leave by the time the youngest was 16…not time enough. ALL the churches in that town, to my knowledge, are terribly flawed. I am not sure why any of them met…though it was a very selective social club. My husband and I were always involved in the music wherever we went…so it is not like we did not try. Long story…my theory was that the town was infected by the people and that culture there. It was not even a town that had been around all that long…maybe started in 1948 or so. Then we had kin on both sides who were bad eggs. Had we to do life over, we would have had even less to do with them…some of them had the main purpose to help our kids disrespect us and separate…they were successful for a time with the middle one…who is not a GOD follower. By now however, it is THEM who are mostly ignored. But we have been through a sort of hell quite frankly. And our youngest was severely damaged by vaccinations. I could write a book on that alone. So our lives were anything but easy. And our son married a girl who did not think he should have kin apparently. Though we liked her, it was not reciprocal. Sadly. But we are 68 and 70 now…we enjoy life so much as we can…but we are neither one in good health…so perhaps our sojourn upon this sad place is not too far off from the next life. Which we so look forward to with great anticipation. I lost several babies in miscarriage…we are looking forward to meeting them…as well as our beloved ones who have gone ahead. GOD above all else has been our comfort. We are grateful beyond words. The ONLY reason we are sane really. I was thanking HIM today for the fact that so far I am physically quite strong even if not in best of health and my prayer is to be able to take care of my hubby so long as he lives. I appreciate this place. Really the only place I have found where we can be open about this problem. If your children abandon you, even the same as our son has us…others feel you must be bad parents. But not necessarily so. Were we perfect? No. But we did try our best. It is all any human can do!! Be encouraged, you are not alone. I feel that Julie has explained it very well too!! And of course, Sheri!!

  26. AvatarMarlis

    Hi Sheri
    Thanks for replying.
    I am just wondering what have these parents done (which apparently we did not) since their children have the exact same political View as them with probably lots of interesting political discussions.
    Whereas we are judged by our children and have to listen to their insults because we see world events in a different light (thanks to our life experience). Well i wish i knew. Maybe it is just the Big question for all of us on this blog
    WHY are things the way they are and was our parenting not good enough?
    Thanks to your wise advice i am beginning to realise that the question is pointless and i could only do my best at the time.
    All the best
    Marlis

    Reply
    1. AvatarJulie

      It’s probably not about your parenting. It’s about peer influence and the poisoning of their minds by radical college professors who have all the power in a classroom. That’s my conclusion. I can look at mine and their differing views, and it pretty much follows which college they attended. Hard-working conservative young boy goes to far-left college and comes back “entitled.” THAT part might be partially our doing since we paid part of his way and he took out loans for the rest — loans which some politicians promise he won’t have to pay back. If I had it to do over again, I would have homeschooled through college, or sent them to a trade school, or let them pay their own way, or started them working toward a career without college. The co-signing of loans was a bad idea.

      I don’t understand, though, the lack of respect. That has to be driven from social media and the culture. I would never, ever have treated my parents poorly, even when I was 180 degrees different in opinion.

  27. AvatarCynthia J.

    Our political views have a lot to do with why I believe our daughter has become admonishing and critical toward us the past few years. She’s let us know she’s very disappointed in us and also that she’d like to sit down with us to discuss events so she can educate us. It’s hard not to laugh out loud! That would only anger her. In order to take the lead in creating a peaceful home environment, we started to be more discreet about what we watch, listen to and discuss when she was home. But she left anyway, raging at us about our opinions being of no value. Recently, she has taken risks with her physical safety due to her political passions and said she would be happy to die for the cause.

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Hi Cynthia,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and situation. I know other parents will find your experience helpful to them. (I hope your daughter will be safe.)

      Hugs,
      Sheri McGregor

  28. AvatarMarlis

    This is what is happening in a lot of families i think. However there are children who apparently completely agree with their parents including their political views. I could name a few families who are in politics in my country.
    Our daughter disagrees in most of what we believe in. Therefore we avoid political discussions. I do not like being treated like an idiot. She does not understand that our upbringing was completely different. Times were different. I think she is being childish and imature. The so called tolerant young people are extremely intolerant towards anybody with different believes and values.
    They would never admit their intolerance because they lack selfreflexion. You would think that there would be some understanding towards parents who have raised them. Sad times we are Living in.

    Reply
    1. rparentsrparents Post author

      Hi Marlis,

      You bring up an important point about intolerance. It’s obvious that while you are attempting to tolerate her behavior by not discussing politics since it’s a hot-button issue, many who are passionate about their political viewpoints are not willing to tolerate any other views and continue to poke at people who do not agree with them and start fights. It is tearing some families apart (and society at large). You are so right though, that there are families who agree on their viewpoints and politics brings them closer—thank you for pointing that out.

      Hugs to you, Marlis.

      Sheri McGregor

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