5 Tips for Post US Election parenting
What your child does not need to hear today is adults panicking about politics! Parents are asking us what they should say to their children. Here are our thoughts:
This is a great opportunity for all parents to stop and evaluate the situation and to be present to how things are happening in your own home. You may not have control about who America elects as president, but you do have control over what is happening in your home and how you react or respond thoughtfully.
Children are not adults. They don’t have the background knowledge, nor the brain development to understand what is happening, nor how to respond. There is nothing for them to hold onto; all they are hearing is fear. It’s not that you cannot discuss politics with your kids. If politics are part of your family values and plan, make it exactly that, a plan. Determine what and how you will teach them about politics, as well as finances, social media behaviour, media bias, diversity, and the powers of fear and love. Be sure that your actions match your words.
Here are 5 tips about how to move forward:
1. Be intentional and selective about what media is coming into your home; for your children and for you yourself.
2. Monitor how you are speaking about it with your children. Keep their involvement to an age-appropriate level.
3. Acknowledge feelings and concerns; your own and those of your kids,
“I’m feeling really disappointed and confused. It’s hard to believe that other people felt so differently than I do.” Bring things back to the basics of their current world. What can they control, how can they take responsibility for their lives? They can focus on their jobs: packing backpacks, getting dishes to the dishwasher, showing kindness.
4. If respect for diversity is one of your values, then we can share that it is fine for people to have differing opinions, much of what has moved the world forward is a difference of opinion. The world would be stagnant if we only ever went one way.
5. Cut out the drama. Drama exists when our daily stories are filled with villains and victims with a good dose of fear. Drama ceases when we manage our own responsibilities. Let’s be sure that we are taking the responsibility to help our kids feel safe and to live the every day minutiae of our lives in the best ways that we can so that we model our family values and teach our kids. This will help them to take on adult responsibilities in the future…when they are adult enough to handle them.