A Counterintuitive Strategy For Effectively Shielding Kids From Emulating Bad Behavior
Did Donald Trump personally instruct his sons to grab the genitals of little girls in their elementary school?
Did he teach Ivanka and Tiffany to taunt Native American girls in their high school by calling them derisive nicknames such as “Pocahontas?”
Did Trump instruct his own children to make fun of kids in their school who have physical handicaps?”
Probably not, but if not, why is he doing this with the rest of America’s children?
The term “Narcissism” has worked its way into mainstream vocabulary ever since Trump started campaigning. A narcissist’s need for attention ― and his complete disregard for the feelings of others ― creates an unstable, anxiety-ridden environment for everyone he lives with.
In this article, we’ll focus on a topic uppermost in the minds of parents, grandparents, and school teachers: how to protect our children and teach them that it’s not okay to disparage others―even if the president does it.
How The Election Has Affected Our Families
Immediately after the November election, there were reports of increased bullying and harassment of minorities, especially Muslims, in our nation’s schools.
Suddenly, children and adolescents feel as if they have a license to kick other people around. After all, if the president is doing it, then it must be okay.
Interestingly, when children grow up with a narcissistic father, they often cope by forming coalitions. Some kids defend their father, while the others try to unmask him. The result is uglier than the original problem.
Compassion + Protection: A New Way To Cope
As parents, grandparents, and school teachers, our main responsibility is protecting our children from Donald Trump. But how do we handle this delicate matter? What do we say to them?
Our answer may surprise you, and maybe even make you very angry ― at first. That’s because our answer is:
What? We’re telling you to teach your children to have compassion for a man who doesn’t seem to have any?
Yes, but with an equally important component:
You see, Donald Trump is a sick person ― a sick person who won’t recognize that he is sick. Donald Trump, because of childhood wounding, has grown into a man who is addicted to making others feel small so he can feel triumphant.
Many of us experienced some kind of trauma in our formative years, but we grew beyond that. Donald Trump, because he was raised in a narcissistic family, is stuck at a pre-adolescent age. Children lack the self-awareness that comes from maturity, and this is why we see Donald Trump saying and doing illogical things without regard to other people’s feelings.
Teaching Our Children To Avoid Contamination
Narcissists are addicted to the emotion they feel when they put down someone else.
When Donald Trump makes fun of crippled people, he experiences a kind of glee that is addictive. It’s a pre-adolescent thing ― the kind of thrill junior high school kids get when they peep into the girls’ changing room.
But notice that Donald Trump can’t stand it when someone takes a jab at him. In fact, he’ll demonize someone for being “rude” by slinging back real rudeness. This is part of the narcissistic personality ― they can dish it, but they can’t take it. This is what makes him sick, and it’s why we have to educate our children to recognize his sickness ― without emulating it.
As therapists, when we talk to kids dealing with abuse like this at home, we say:
“Look, you’re in a terrible situation, because you want to be loyal to your father, so it puts you in a real bind. But what you need to understand is that your father has a sickness ― he is sick. You must have compassion while protecting yourself from his contamination.”
A Script For Talking With Your Kids
We need to teach our children to avoid Donald Trump the same way we teach them to avoid pedophiles. We need to teach them to have compassion but also show them how to protect themselves.
You can do this by saying something like:
“Even when you see the president calling people names, trying to humiliate people, and talking down people who don’t agree with him, that’s a sick person who has not sought help for his problems.”
“The president lies all the time, but you’ll get in trouble if you lie. Lying is a bad thing to do. The president does it because he’s a miserable, wounded man who has never sought help for his problems.”
When we talk to our children this way, we are not excusing or condoning Donald Trump’s behavior. Instead, we teach them to be forewarned and forearmed: by helping them understand while protecting themselves. In this way, we teach them to become adults who will lead this country with fairness and compassion.
Katie and Gay’s free relationship e-newsletter, Hearts In Harmony, will show you how to transform your life and your relationships from the inside out. Based on the tools they’ve developed throughout their 30+ year marriage and taught to thousands, you’ll learn powerful insights and practical techniques you can start using today ― whether you’re in a relationship or eager to attract one. www.heartsintrueharmony.com