LANSING, Mich. — Three days post-election and the country is still in a situation of uncertainty. It can be stressful for us adults but experts remind us we have to remember, our kids are watching. Lindsey Boetsch spoke with a child psychologist who says this year there are a few changes when it comes to advice to talking to your kids.
The divisiveness has gotten so significant, and we really can’t help prevent our kids from getting exposed to it. For months before this polarized election, our children have seen attack ads, rallies, and protests and with how divided our country is right now with this election "it’s inevitable that they’re going to see it."
So, child and adolescent psychologist Dr. Jessica Hawks says instead of trying to shield our children, we should be open and have age-appropriate conversations. A lot of times parents worry that approaching these sensitive topics can somehow be unhelpful, or maybe amplify the problem, but the opposite is true. Talking about it is really important, but it’s not just talking with our children.
We have to be mindful of the conversations we have with the other adults in our house. As parents, we have to be really aware of how we’re showing up every day in front of our kids to make sure we’re doing the things we need to be doing to help promote our kids’ health and wellbeing.
She says this is a great opportunity to teach our kids several lessons. One is how to be a critical thinker with not just what they see or hear but this election cycle what some children might read online. One of the things parents can be doing right now is teaching their kids, how do you evaluate the information out there in a critical way, look to trusted news sources to be able to inform peoples’ opinions.
Another thing you can teach your kids is how to have differing view points. It’s important that kids learn how to stop, listen, ask questions, be open to other peoples’ perspectives, and be able to do that in a way that maybe at the end of that conversation, you don’t change your opinion, but you have the ability to engage in that important political discourse in a respectful way. Especially in this election that’s split so closely down the middle.
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