How do we talk to children about the election? There is so much social media saying families will be torn apart when parents are deported and that foreign students fear being sent home to ravaged war-torn underdeveloped countries where young people are trafficked and bartered. Then there are the protest marchers! How do we assuage these fears?
–PG, Alexandria, VA
Never before have our young people been exposed to social media depicting such fowl language, disruptive behavior and hateful rages than in this past election. It is sad that we allow such despicable behavior to go on without consequences. What must other countries think of America? Its embarrassing and unacceptable.
Express your feelings. However, your conversation should be age appropriate.
- Talk about the importance of being respectful of other children’s opinions and religion. Tell them to take the high road, as Michelle Obama reminds us, and don’t name-call or put anther kid down. What if they were the kid being picked on and bullied?
- Assure children that their everyday lives won’t be changed by the election and that other elections have had similar outcomes where a huge majority was disappointed by the result. Of course, if their friends or classmates are Muslims or their parents are undocumented, you may have to deal with that down the road in helping your child to understand their friend’s circumstances.
To your child, use the example of the serious student who always wanted to be president of her class working really hard making signs and giving speeches only to lose the election to the popular, handsome football player who never does his homework, and all the kids envy.
- You are your child’s role model. If you are distressed over the election, your child will continue to be upset by Trump’s presidency until you accept the outcome. Teach your child to be a good sport, not a sore loser. Democracy works when adults vote and the person who gets the most electoral votes wins. You can even remind your child that we get to do the presidential election all over again in four years.
More importantly, make it clear that if a person doesn’t vote, they cannot legitimately complain about the outcome. Sadly, only 43% of all registered voters actually voted in this past presidential election.
Empower your children to become voters. Start by demonstrating your concern and take your children to Washington, D.C. on Saturday, January 21, 2017, to participate in the Million Women March in support of women’s rights.
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Accepting A Compliment