President-Elect Donald & Melania Trump Put Son Barron First!

Melania Trump and son Barron are to hold off on an immediate move into the White House.  According to The Wall Street Journal, President-elect Trump told reporters they would join him “very soon.  After he’s finished with school.”

And, the media onslaught began with imprecise headline clickbait aplenty.  

“Melania and Barron Trump won’t be moving to the White House” (The New York Post)… “Melania and Barron will move to D.C., eventually, but many Trump family questions remain” (NBC News)…”Melania and Barron Trump might not move to the White House” (Fortune)…  “Melania and Barron Trump will not move to the White House” (Daily Mail)

Regardless of your politics—when speaking of a ten year old child in the context of an extraordinary protracted period of time replete with vitriol and continuous upheaval— is it such a leap for the masses and media to recognize the sound nature of this decision?  

We are speaking of a human life.  One that did not opt to be born or enter into this grandiose and incredibly original, but tumultuous story.  Are we willing to put the well-being of a child above their parents very personal public matters?      

I have repeatedly written here about the adverse consequences of childhood trauma and the impact of extreme toxic stress prompting the development of adult dysfunction and disease.  Stop wondering about why the opioid epidemic is so relevant an issue today—and, it isn’t simply because the pills themselves exist.  A significant portion of the answer lies here; for, when childhood strife is unrelenting and improperly managed the eventual adult will not garner the vital skills to cope and be resilient.  This negatively influences their capacity to be adaptable, well-adjusted and independent.   

The science is clear and extensive on this and can be reviewed in my pieces “To Avoid Adult Dysfunction Start ‘In Utero’” or “‘Is Anthony Weiner a Sex Addict?’ is the wrong question.”  

No, this does not mean there is a free pass for accepting personal responsibility or possessing the requisite autonomy to alter course.  It also does not mean that an individual who lacked childhood toxic stress can’t become an addict or endure illness.  Applying a reasonable lens should permit you to suss out the appropriate measured nuance and significance.  

Just contemplate how compassion, sensitivity and understanding by the public amidst such chaotic and frustrating times might contribute more to the greater good than so biased a lens.  If you can’t get past the candidate, then it is your work to open your heart and mind to the next generation.  Children move a society forward and enhance its ability to advance.  Every time you malign the candidate in a personal, non-issue-based way, there are loved ones behind-the-scenes who suffer unduly.

Policies and bad behavior certainly will be reported.  Mocking, ridiculing and humiliating serve merely to make worse a terrible situation.  Ask yourself, what personal satisfaction does that bring?  For the youngest, a public record is already mounting.  Does that elevate your morality somehow?  Does that make our culture better in any way?    

To those who cannot separate the politics from the very real innocents who are thrust into the limelight without their own choosing, just try to imagine a child or grandchild’s world under these conditions.  The political pundits are so mesmerized by words, spin and double speak that decisive, positive action immediately warrants reflexive skepticism.  

In this choice of delayed residence to the White House, we actually witness an action that prioritizes a child’s well-being and health.  Actions are worth more than words these days.  This, too, has been studied in the realm of deception.    

As a pediatrician, I applaud this initial effort of our new First Lady and President-elect to demonstrate good parenting.  We seem to demand our public figures be good role models, so why not support this particular endeavor?  I imagine, as with most people, there will be much for America to weigh in on of legitimate controversy in the future.  And, of course, that discourse is free game.