Aidan ElDifrawi shares how recording a podcast with his dad taught him to empathize and compromise with him

Aidan ElDifrawi records a podcast titled Hold Me Back with his dad Ash. Hold Me Back tackles the differences between their generations. The podcast is committed to bridging the growing generational divide. YEM was able to speak with Aidan about his relationship with his dad, how he brainstorms ideas for his podcast, and his favorite memory he has had since recording the podcast.

Young Entertainment Mag: When did you and your dad start recording your podcast?

Aidan ElDifrawi: We started conceiving and planning the podcast in August of 2020, then started recording in January of 2021.

YEM: How would you describe your relationship with your dad?

Aidan: It’s brought us closer for sure. We understand each other in a new way and empathize with each other more. Interestingly, we also hold each other to a higher standard when we try to convince each other of something. We get much less heated during arguments because open and honest dialogue has become a staple in our lives and it’s helped us see eye to eye much more. We also find ourselves agreeing more because we seek to find facts that support our respective perspectives.

YEM: What has been the most interesting thing that has come out of recording your podcast?

Aidan: That it has meaningfully changed the way parents are communicating with their kids. We are overwhelmed and humbled by the stories we hear of how our podcast has inspired parents to strive for better communication with their kids. It has also been interesting to see how it has changed my relationship with my dad — we have learned to empathize and compromise with each other in a whole new way.

YEM: How do you brainstorm and come up with ideas that you want to talk about?

Aidan: We want our topics to be relevant and relatable so that they resonate with as many people as possible and address real world problems. We tap into as many sources as possible to generate ideas.. I talk to my friends and their parents. We read a lot to see what topics are controversial and current. My dad talks to colleagues and friends. Then we do a quick scan of the research to see what is out there. From there we have a list of topics that we choose from.

YEM: Which podcast episode was your favorite to record and why?

Aidan: My personal favorite was an episode we titled: The Content War: Parenting in an R-Rated World. For years, my parents and I have debated when it was appropriate for me to view certain content. I’ve been trying to convince them for years that the context has changed so much since they were growing up because I had access to more explicit content on a daily basis just through mainstream media alone. It was great to finally have a data and fact based debate with my dad on this topic, particularly since I was vindicated! I would highly recommend that teens listen to this episode with their parents – wink, wink.

YEM: What is one topic that you have not talked about but plan to in the future?

Aidan: Grades. We have been holding off on this topic because we know it will be explosive, but the time is fast approaching:)!

YEM: What has been your favorite memory since you started recording your podcast?

Aidan: The response we’ve been getting locally to our podcast has been phenomenal. The one memory that sticks with me is one day after we dropped an episode on Youth Sports, we were walking our dog, Archie around the block, and we were stopped multiple times by parents telling us how much they enjoyed the podcast and how it positively impacted their communication with their children. We’ve had more experiences of the sort since then, but hearing all that for the first time is something I won’t soon forget.

YEM: What kind of content can we expect from you and your dad in the future?

Aidan: I think we will start getting into areas that are going to be a little more uncomfortable because they can be polarizing and highly charged. We’ve avoided some of these topics early because we wanted to first  establish trust between us and the audience. Topics such as political correctness, gender identity, social justice, religion, dating/sex,  politics, and others will start making their way into our conversations.

YEM: What has been the most challenging part of hosting a podcast and why?

Aidan: The time commitment and resilience it takes to maintain a high level of quality. Frankly, it can be mentally exhausting. It can take over 40 hours to do a single episode.  Between my schoolwork, extra-curricular activities, and my father’s work schedule — almost all of our free time is spent working on the podcast. The sacrifices I’ve made to my friendships and just time to unplug have been extremely challenging.

YEM: What has been the most rewarding part of hosting a podcast and why?

Aidan: I’m incredibly proud of the content we are putting out into the world. I honestly believe it can make a difference. I know it sounds corny, but it does feel good to create something that I am proud of and see and hear the positive impact it has on people. Seeing the reviews and hearing the stories from parents and friends means everything to me.

YEM: Since you have started your podcast, what do you think the biggest difference/differences between Gen X and Gen Z is?

Aidan: Sometimes the simplest explanation is the best one (also known as occam’s razor), and it seems like in every one of our episodes, Gen Z growing up in the digital age is the biggest difference. It’s arguably the biggest generational context change in history. The unlimited and unfiltered access Gen Z has to the world in the palm of their hands simply changes everything, including Gen Z’s emotional and intellectual development. We are growing up in an R-rated world, where Gen X grew up in a PG rated world. In one of our recent episodes, we also discussed that Gen Z has to work harder to fight motivated reasoning, tribalism, and the decline of critical thinking because of the amount of misinformation and ideological thinking that is readily available.

YEM: How can Gen X and Gen Z work together to find more common ground or at least begin to understand and listen to each other?

Aidan: Listen to each other. Seek to understand each other’s unique context and point of view. We use the phrase ‘argue like a scientist, not like a lawyer.’  This means when you debate, seek to understand the truth, not find evidence to support your point of view. The truth matters, so bring back long form dialogue in a safe environment that allows for fair minded and rational conversations on any and every topic. Stop communicating in tweets. Stop the spread of hateful and bad ideas rooted in ideological thinking that divides us.

YEM: Since you have started this podcast, do you feel like the generational divide between Gen X and Gen Z is easier to understand? Why or why not?

Aidan:Absolutely. The research, interviews, and with each passing discussion, we’ve come to understand each other better and better. For me, through our open dialogue, I’ve come to appreciate and understand my dad’s perspective on decisions he makes (as well as my mom) that I previously thought were irrational and unfair. On a broader scale, if I am being honest, while I have come to ‘intellectually’ understand it more, it has been disheartening to see how Gen X has weaponized so many positive technologies in a manner that has created so much negativity and divisiveness in the world.

Listen to Aidan’s podcast Hold Me Back here!