Politics: Why They Matter and How to Talk to Kids About Them
Nothing could have been more boring to me when I was younger.
I find it fascinating to watch my children grow and find things they are interested in, for example, politics. What I once found boring and had no interest in when I was younger, they are very engaged in.
They are excited about the debates, different perspectives and current events. They ask questions about things they hear from friends at school (or on Zoom), on the radio or from conversations between Rick and me.
This week is no different.
As we get ready for the inauguration, things feel heavy.
From whatever angle you are standing, there’s so much discord, anger and frustration.
I feel a little bit hesitant...who am I kidding, I’m very hesitant to even talk like this on my blog.
But what is happening right now in this country is big.
And in light of these big, and sometimes disturbing events, big change needs to happen.
People are being hurt and continue to be hurt by systems that oppress them.
Even if the changes start out small, they need to happen.
I, for one, am hopeful about the coming inauguration of the President Elect and Vice President Elect.
I am inspired by the administration’s choices so far regarding the appointments they have made.
I am excited to continue to grow and evolve as a practitioner while striving to understand the complex intersections of identity, politics, and power.
I am excited to talk to my children about what I see as diversity in action and important forms of representation that I see happening on a larger scale in this country. And I want you to be excited to talk to your kids about sensitive topics that might come up for you and your family.
While parenting can bring up uncomfortable conversations with our kids, sometimes even to the point of dreading the idea outright, our children need us to guide them and create a space for them to know it is safe to discuss anything.
Here a few things to keep in mind:
If you are partnered, get on the same page with your partner about the depth and breadth of conversation of how you are feeling and address any discrepancies first to make sure your emotions are in check before speaking with your children.
Come to an agreement surrounding boundaries regarding the level of exposure for each child in the family depending on their age.
If your children are too young to be having certain conversations right now, this is a great time to check in with your partner about how you will handle big topics in the future.
Create a distraction free, fun container for you to have a conversation with your kids.
Start with asking them what they are already aware of (what they have heard) and if they have any questions..
Take an opportunity to answer any questions they have and address any misinformation they may have picked up “outside” of the home.
Together, research any questions you may not have the answers for. We don’t know everything. This also helps children figure out how to be critical thinkers as you navigate legitimate sources.
Share any relevant information of current events.
Open up the space for more questions.
Remember the dialogue continues outside of the initial conversation.
Most importantly, leave space for flexibility, exploration and fun.
If you aren’t a part of our Happy With Baby Community on Facebook head over now for more parent-centric communication and connection.
Leave a comment below sharing how you implemented some of the tips offered above.