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May 28, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Don’t Wrap Kids Up in YOUR Politics!

Don't say bitter and negative comments out in the open unless you want your child to parrot what you say!

“Mommy, is that ‘Donal Twump?'” your 5-year-old asks, pointing at the TV, knowing that she’s heard that name a lot lately at home. As you pull her away from the tube, you realize that perhaps you’re not shielding her adequately from the politics at home. You want to spare her the hi-charged feelings that come up around your kitchen table, but you also think she should know a little about what’s going on in the world.

So how can you protect your kids from the politics bubbling up everywhere? You’ve taught them not to judge others so quickly and yet snapping to judgment is everywhere. Whatever happened to kindness? Patience? Understanding? Empathy? With current events dominating our daily lives, sheltering your kids from politics is a good idea.

So, first of all, as much as you may think it’s OK to tell your kids what you believe or do not believe politically (or who’s right or who’s wrong), little kids really, really don’t get it.

Consider the following points for your kids’ sakes:

The majority of concepts being discussed in the U.S. right now are complex and adult. Trying to explain them to your children is futile and beyond their comprehension. Teenagers, maybe, but young children should be spared. If your child can’t understand concepts like abortion, immigration, terrorism and gun control then they are too young to form an opinion about them.

• Know that children are 100% influenced by your behavior … do you want them to be? Remember, you are your child’s role model. Be what you want your child to be: positive, graceful, polite, trusting, loving, etc.

• If you decide to talk politics with your kids, refrain from emotion. Don’t say bitter and negative comments out in the open unless you want your child to parrot what you say (and you don’t want them to parrot the ugly, do you?!)

• Kids can feel the emotion behind your heated exchanges and pick up on your reactions. They can even feel at fault for causing your bad reactions. If something — or someone —  makes you mad, explain why that man or woman made you feel that way. Put it in terms that are without judgment so you don’t frighten your child.

• Reassure your child by listening to him when he tries to discuss an issue with you. Don’t insist that he feel the way you feel; remember, the concepts being raked over today are adult concepts and children cannot understand them.

• If your older child is genuinely interested in what’s happening in the world, steer him toward kid-friendly news he can digest. Check out this collection of news sites for kids and decide which ones you want your child to read.


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About the Author

Susan Swindell Day, Editor

Susan Swindell Day is the editor in chief of Nashville Parent and the mom of four amazing kids.