Here we are, less than 2 weeks from Election Day in a particularly crazy election season. Many parents are wringing their hands about how to talk to their kids about elections in general and this election in particular.
While we at momAgenda are not endorsing a particular candidate, we do have definite opinions on the best way to talk to your kids about the election.
A note: as with all parenting advice, the age of your kids is an important factor. So tailor this advice to your family. Most of these suggestions pertain to kids aged 12 and over.
Talk about the great responsibility we have as citizens to choose our next leader.
Voting is an important right and responsibility we all have as citizens of this country. Teach your kids that not every nation gives its citizens that right, so that they’ll come to value it as adults.
Discuss the issues with your kids, and listen.
Discuss the values you hold dear in your family. What are the issues that matter to you? For example, some issues are the economy, foreign policy, equality, and taxes. Ask your kids about what issues matter to them and why, and listen to their responses. You may learn something new about your child.
Talk about each candidate’s stances.
Don’t just talk about your candidate; talk about both sides. Talk about the issues you agree with your candidate on, as well as the issues you disagree with him/her on. Talk about behaviors that you like/dislike that may be influencing your vote.
Encourage kids to express their views openly and without fear of judgment.
Let them know that they don’t have to agree with you on the issues. Listen to their views with kindness and respect.
Note: When my oldest son turned 18 a few years ago, he registered for a different political party than the one I am in; please don’t do what I did, which was to try to change his mind. I have since learned the error of my ways and I now encourage my kids to think for themselves about politics and everything else.
Make sure kids know this can be a divisive issue outside the home.
Encourage them to treat others with differing views with politeness, kindness and respect.
How are you addressing the election in your home?
And I almost forgot… don’t forget to get out and vote!