Kids are excited by speaking about the election and politics. Researchers say us this. And loads of dad and mom are reluctant to achieve this in a manner that is significant, and that may assist children perceive what it means to be a considerate, engaged citizen.
Green: Parent mates of mine have informed me their children are experiencing this political interval with loads of depth. I’ve heard tales of children being actually scared of Donald Trump, for instance, and what would occur if Trump had been elected or reelected president.
I ponder if that is one thing you’ve got handled at Highlights—political weight being placed on children who’re perhaps too younger to perceive it.
Cully: Yes. We have seen that. In reality, we had a letter from a toddler who stated precisely what you simply stated: that they had been involved about Donald Trump being elected.
Kids are sponges. And what they do is choose up and take up the robust feelings in the adults round them. So if the adults round them are actually intensely speaking about the election, if they’re offended, if they’re expressing excessive disappointment or despair, children are selecting that up.
It’s additionally essential to keep in mind that children also can choose up feelings like calm and hope and optimism and empathy. Many of these classes are caught, moderately than taught.
Green: Is it doable to assist children not internalize one of the massive messages of our period: that individuals who have completely different political opinions are the enemy?
If you have got concepts about how to do that typically, you possibly can very nicely be president of the United States, as a result of I’m unsure anybody has an excellent reply. But anyhow: How ought to dad and mom even start to grapple with that?
Cully: The acrimony that surrounds this election and postelection interval requires dad and mom to have conversations with children about how to reside with folks with whom we disagree, and the way to speak to these folks with kindness and respect. There are many alternative views of the world, and most of these views deserve respect. There are a couple of exceptions, like QAnon, for instance. But it is actually useful for teenagers to understand that even once we do not see issues the similar manner, we are able to nonetheless normally discover widespread floor.
Green: But there are additionally traces to train children about, proper? The factor I keep in mind is disinformation: serving to children discern what’s factual and truthful and dependable as a supply, versus conspiracy theories. In latest years, that sort of disinformation has been furthered by folks at the highest degree of authorities.
Cully: I feel dad and mom can speak to children about how they decide whether or not a information supply is dependable. And dad and mom can speak about why they’ve chosen one candidate, or why they like one politician higher than one other. By doing that, they show children how empowering voting might be.
I feel this yr, too, dad and mom want to handle the integrity of our voting course of. They may help their children fact-check some of the unfounded claims which are being made. Certainly, they need to level to the ballot employees—helpers, in Mister Rogers’s parlance—who helped guarantee a good and trustworthy election.