Wednesday, November 16, 2016

How to Talk to Your Kids about the Presidential Election Results

     This election was one of most divisive in recent political history. The lack of etiquette and a 24-hour news cycle elicited strong emotional reactions from even those who had never been so passionate about an election before. Because of that we are getting many questions from parents about how to talk to their children about the results. The best approach for parents is to reduce the stress of their kids while educating them about the political process.

Here are ways to talk to your kids about the election:
            Many People have Different Beliefs
1.     Whether your kids support Trump’s perspective or Clinton’s ideals, this election offers parents the opportunity to talk with their kids about the fact that many people in the country have different views. Trump won the electoral vote, yet, Clinton won the popular vote. That means that no matter what their views are, many people think differently than them. Help your kids to be prepared if difficult conversations about the election come up.

You can tell your kids, “While many people in our community (family, group of friends, or whatever fits) believe certain things, we see from this election that other people see things differently. Because we are surrounded by people who believe the same things, it is easy to forget that we are a very diverse country. Sometimes when we talk to people, we hear opinions and ideas that are very different than ours. We might disagree with them very much. Other people might even say mean stuff about things you believe in. How might you react in that situation?”

You will be Okay
2.     This isn’t the first time the country was divided and it probably won’t be the last. It is part of having a democracy and the freedoms that come with it. Talk with your kids about checks and balances, including the process the president must go through to make policy changes. It’s important to communicate to your kids a sense of optimism about the future and their role in it.
You can tell your kids, “The strength of our political system is that even the president doesn’t have absolute power and needs to go through the House of Representatives and the Senate for the most important decisions that impact the country. Also, a lot of the control over decisions about what happens in our city are made by representatives of our state and politicians where we live. Whatever changes occur, happen gradually.”

Show Respect for the Process
3.     Whether you support the outcome or not, it is very important to communicate respect for the process of voting and the freedom to do so in our country. It is important to model for our kids how to be respectful of the process, while at the same time encouraging them to be educated about the issues so they can vote to make changes when they are of age.

You can tell your kids, “We should celebrate the opportunity to participate in the process of shaping our government whether you like the outcome or not. It is important to learn about the issues and exercise your right to vote so you can support the things you believe in.”

Do Something to Support Your Beliefs
4.     If your children don’t like the outcome or how people are reacting to the results, find a cause to support those they feel are being treated unfairly. If they feel the outcome may take away benefits from the poor, help them volunteer to support families in need, serve food at a Soup Kitchen, collect toys for the holidays, etc. If they feel the protests impacted businesses in the community, help them support those businesses with helping out or even writing a card or letter showing their appreciation for what they provide for the community.

For more parent tips about raising kids in the Instant Gratification Generation.

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