Shropshire Star

Your essential guide on how not to fall out with loved ones on general election day

The general election is important – but it isn’t worth falling out over.

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Regardless of the outcome tomorrow, your wellbeing and relationships are paramount, say the experts. As the election arrives, emotions may be heightened during conversations about political parties and their policies with family and friends. Avoiding such discussions is near impossible as we get closer to placing our vote in the ballot box, so what do counsellors and family psychologists advice for navigating tricky situations if there’s tension and disagreements? Here’s how to make sure conversations don’t go sour...

ENCOURAGE HEALTHY DEBATE

Many of us were taught not to discuss politics, money or religion in public growing up, but Fiona Yassin, family psychotherapist and founder and clinical director of The Wave Clinic, thinks this stance is counterproductive.

She encourages everyone to open channels of dialogue about politics with their friends and family, especially children as it can foster critical thinking.

“We shouldn’t avoid these topics because they can help build a foundation of understanding and discovery for young people,” says Yassin. “Embracing political conversations in the home can help children to build important critical thinking and development skills.”

COME FROM A PLACE OF CURIOSITY

Taking time to understand where our loved one’s political opinions come from could help ease tensions.

“Be curious – instead of dismissing or shutting down, look to understand how the other person’s experiences, values and beliefs have led to their particular political persuasion,” says Yassin. “Simple open questions, such as ‘Why does it feel that way to you?’ and, ‘What’s your experience of that?’ can help to expand the conversation beyond a disagreement on what is right and wrong.”