It’s an election year and our lives are inundated with political messages from all sides. Often this coverage is filled with negative messages, exaggerations, innuendos, and untruths.
As adults, we are much better at processing and understanding our political system and elections. What about our children? How are they hearing these messages, what do they think about all of it?
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Heather here from FamilyVolley.com and today we are sharing some ideas for How to Talk to Your Children about Politics. Don’t worry, I am not going to tell you who to vote for. Instead, here are tips for talking to your children about politics.
Start with CONCEPTS not Opinions-Be Non-Partisan.
Don’t worry about who you think should win or what party you subscribe to. Instead focus on teaching children how the system works, how blessed we are to live in a free country and what makes our political system different from others.
Start with the following…
How our political system works
Who is elected
Identify key leaders from your local area
Who is the President and Vice President
What makes this country’s political system different than others
Teach the Constitution
Freedom relies on Participation, Teach kids to be involved.
They learn this from watching us. We need to vote, we need to be involved, we need to care, or they won’t. Remember, the things we don’t talk about, our children will automatically assume that we don’t care about. If they don’t think we care, they won’t care either.
Free Speech DOES NOT trump COURTESY.
We need to teach our children that free speech doesn’t mean you can do what you want because you think it. Our children need to understand that actions have consequences and that courtesy goes hand in hand with free speech.
Help your children understand and practice these three things…
Disagree with RESPECT
Be Wrong with INTEGRITY
Be Right with HUMILITY
Tailor your talks to your children’s age.
When it comes to talking to your kids about politics and the election, conversations should be tailored to their age and understanding. Use words and comparisons that make sense to your kids.
Ask: “Do you know what the President does?”
Answer: “The President is like a parent for the country. Helping our country to make good decisions.”
Share with care.
After we have done some prep work and focused more on the process than our personal feelings about politics, we can start to share our own opinions with our children. When we do start to share, it is important to use a neutral tone and focus on what we are FOR, without badmouthing everyone else. Remember, this is as much a chance to teach our children important life skills, as it is to teach them about politics.
Start with statements such as…
“Democrats tend to believe…”
“Republicans tend to believe…”
Teach kids to THINK FOR THEMSELVES.
Children who don’t learn how to think for themselves can develop into teens and adults who are plagued by boredom, poor social skills, lack of ambition and general unhappiness.
This is one of the reasons it is so important for us to be less worried about inundating them with our opinions and instead helping them understand the process and come to their own conclusions.
To teach kids to think for themselves, encourage conversation, ask WHY questions and be open to asking your children what they think you should do in family and life situations.
It is also powerful to SHOW kids why things are right and wrong instead of just telling them they are.
An election year is the perfect time to teach our children about more than just who we want to be the next president. Take the opportunity to teach them to think for themselves, appreciate our freedom and to get involved.
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