I went to the March for Science in Detroit recently to stand with others advocating for facts as best as we understand them. I went because parents and teachers and professionals are always asking me “how can I get him to tell the truth” or to “stop making up stories” or “get him to face reality?” It’s close to impossible for boys to make that already difficult developmental leap when world leaders, government officials, and media personalities present the closest thing we have to objective truth as fraudulent, elitist and politically correct opinion. That practice by grown ups in authority who influence millions of Americans makes it that much easier for boys to say, “well that’s my opinion and it’s just as good as yours.” Parents and teachers now have an even harder time substantiating their view and convincing a boy that there is a reality supporting their position. He only has to point to the television when he says “you have alternative facts” or “you have an elitist opinion.” They can say it on the screen and he’s going to say it too. Now it’s even more important that parents and teachers be skilled at acceptance without judgment, patience without opinion, and actions demonstrating self responsibility and moral authority that promotes a boy making more mature choices.
Here are a couple of recommendations. Stepping back (mentally, emotionally and physically) and calming yourself when he’s spouting nonsense is a great start. Stating briefly you understand how he feels (without having to agree) keeps you out of the argument, helps keep you relaxed and opens the door to his bluster dissipating. Finally, thanking him for giving you his opinion, telling him you understand where he’s coming from and that you look forward to further conversations should calm the whole situation down.
Has your son imitated attitudes and language from media, leaders and government officials? Please share.