Once again we find ourselves in a conflictual and divisive election season. This has added another layer to the anxiety and uncertainty our country is facing. Here are some thoughts on how to help support your children and family:
- Listen to your kids. Check in and ask if they have any thoughts or concerns about the election. Keep this dialogue open now and in the coming weeks. Acknowledge that elections can make people feel a variety of emotions including anxious and angry as well as hopeful. Being uncomfortable is ok and how our democracy has overcome challenges for nearly 250 years. Coping with the unknown can help us through other situations we will face (such as receiving bad grade and not making a sports team).
- Be mindful of what you discuss in front of your child. Kids are going to follow your lead and are paying attention. Be mindful of what you say and how you say it. If you are feeling very anxious, find other adults to be your support. This is a time to convey reassurance and calm to our children.
- Use the election as an opportunity to explain how our government works (and sometimes doesn’t work so well). Explain how we have many leaders who all help run our government and they represent many points of view.
- Explain that Americans live amongst people from different backgrounds and beliefs. It’s ok to disagree as different beliefs are what have made this country successful and be a leader in the world. Most people can work through conflict in respectful ways and we will continue to expect and demand this of ourselves and our leaders.
- You can discuss how our leaders don’t always behave in ways we agree with and can even say things that are mean and not truthful. But, your family values treating people with kindness, love and respect. Your family will surround yourselves as much as possible with people who share these basic values. As individuals and as a group, we will stand up for our rights and those of others. If our leaders don’t follow our values, we will have future elections where the people can make a change.
Our diversity of views can make us stronger. As we approach this election, I encourage everyone to make their voice heard and vote!