Politics has spread beyond just adult conversation in these days. Our children have more questions and they are being introduced to political talk early on, be it at school, on social media, or among friends and family members.
How do you help your child understand the changes that are going on around them?
My children are of all different age groups and I know that they have become very opinionated about what they have heard “around town”. How I choose to talk to them about politics has to be appropriate, unbiased of my own opinions and thoughts, and informative but on their level.
Is it ever too early to talk about politics with your child?
That was the question I was faced with.
Well, I must tell myself, if they are already hearing it outside of the home then I should have talked to them about it before now. So no, when your child starts to talk about a topic that has not been initiated by you, it is not too early.
Here are the steps I took to talk about politics with my children.
I first asked them, what they knew. In casual conversation, I just asked what have you heard and I asked them how they felt about what they heard. If they had concerns, I asked what their concerns were and why were these concerns.
I address those concerns and try to give as much valuable information as I can on the topic. Sometimes they bring up things that are just gossip or biased opinions and it might require a “Google” night to find the facts behind the statements they have heard.
I try to give an understanding of the role of people in politics and how those roles affect us, our family and society. We read bios of different political members, we read for understanding exactly what their role is for our country and how it affects other countries, we compare the things we read with things we have heard from others, and we form our own opinions.
We discuss it!
I remind my children that just because this is something that we do with our family, it does not mean that others do the same. I feel as though politics should not be discussed at school unless it is a lesson on the history of the constitution and the relation to politics. I am against school mock elections unless the school is prepared to give a lesson on the roles and backgrounds of the individuals running. Allowing students to vote based purely on nothing welcomes prejudices.
If my children remain interested I watch with them the sessions that take place, the debates, the speeches, the press conferences, and anything else that may help them to understand better.
The bottom line, if your child is showing interest, fear, or curiosity there is no harm in having an informed conversation or learning moment about politics and how it affects our country and our families. The hard part is remaining biased and allowing our children to form decisions of their own.
I take this approach about many things in the news, that my children may hear or read about in the news, on social media, or at school. I always want them to be informed and I always want them to have an understanding of current events that cause a positive or negative response. Most of all I want to be the one who answers their questions and make sure they have and understand the information available to them.