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Teens in Trumpland

The family history of the Drumpf family centers around abuse and lack of empathy. Teens are sensitive to this. They’re trying to connect. They see a hollow man in power and a vast array of social media distraction before them — most of which are working to scramble their sensor array.

Plus, most teens are just a tiny, teensy little bit messed up in the head.

We’re going to have Trumpland in place for another few more months, until the man is removed from power and the slow disassembly of a completely corrupt political party begins, but while we have people like Trump in power — you’re going to have a problem.

What dangers does Trumpland offer your teen? On face value, Fred Trump’s ideas of master race are the first hurdle. Donald’s first ‘victory’ was to beat down a suit against him and his father for discriminating against people on the basis of color. But racism isn’t always about the color of your skin — it’s really more about the fears that the racist will foster.

Teens want to connect to other teens, and in general they don’t want to connect with you. But with the racist precepts that are being quietly followed, and a hollow man set in the foreground, their compass spins. Here’s a few pointers.

  1. Be careful of what you say and do. Your child is no longer a wide eyed little kid, and he or she will generalize what you’re going to say or do. But for god’s sake, don’t let it knock out playful. Playful is how you survive this. For example. Punkin’ Chunkin. That’s right. It’s past Halloween. Go out in the backyard with your teen and chunk that pumpkin. Let them get it all out. There’s nothing quite like smashing a pumpkin in the face to let out your aggression.
  2. Throw a few barbs. Chances are your teen is taking the situation we’re in way too seriously. Lighten things up. If your teen is like mine, you might have a headwind to beat down because you’re the adult. Show them that part of being an adult is to have a sense of humor. Be careful not to intrude on their language domain, however. They have crafted that to help put up intergenerational walls. Stay away from calling things Lit. Even if they are.
  3. Take them into the natural world. And remember, it’s there every time you walk out the front door. Talk aout Deer, for example. Ever seen a deer stick its head up and look a certain direction and then put its head back down? And then two others do the same thing? Then three, then five? And finally they all run away? Deer, like birds, and wolves — have leaders. But they’re voting. They’re turning toward the next watering hole. The alpha is really gathering a vote and heading the herd to the next watering hole, and it’s really a thankless job — he’ll be the first to get eaten by the wolf. Horses don’t always battle to become the leader of the herd — sometimes the hardest battle is for second place, unseen. Ever seen the sky filled with birds, floating and dancing in the wind? They’re voting. Each bird is sending out a beat with his or her wing, and the leader is listening — when they settle, they all seem to drop out of the sky, right into a tree. It’s not because of the leader, but because of the birds themselves.
  4. Shoot folly as it flies. The master race stuff is complete bullshit. The ideas that our president were steeped in were the result of fears. The fears live in dark places, so shut off the TV or press pause or do whatever it takes to halt the process of bullshit transfer. For teens, this will translate into alot of personal interaction. The effect of having a racist for a president is going to either transform anxiety levels or levels of oppression — and usually the weak and fearful will take the path that the Las Vegas Shooter took, or whatever other bully of the day we’re going to hear about — it’s the strong ones that will let their anxiety levels rise and those are the ones that you can help. If someone tells a lie, don’t set up a pro vs. con about the statement, just call it a lie. Not an untruth. Not a falsehood. The folly lifts up off the ground, blow it out of the sky with everything you’ve got.

I’m not saying these will work. It’s hard to raise a teen in 2017. Hopefully some of it works well enough. I generally find that the best thing I can do is find specific instances where my teen is doing the right thing, and be specific about my praise of it — I find they will generalize things that I say to them more than others. But in the end, they’re still playful — and trying to learn their world around them. And you’re still mom, or dad, and you’re going to make mistakes. But just let them know you love them and you’re not buying the bullshit. And maybe they’ll make the right choice. Good luck!

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