Talking Politics With Your Child: 3 Tips To Help Them Develop Healthy Political Views

Despite how you may feel about the government and politics, one day your child is going to be an active participant in the voting practice we all share in the United States. It can be difficult to hide our true feelings about what’s happening in our political landscape – and even more so during a election period. But, as you know, children model what they see and hear. And, when it comes to teaching them healthy ways to share their opinions or views, you have to mindful of how you do that – especially with hot button topics like politics! In this video I share with you 3 strategies that you can use to guide your child to developing healthy political views.

No time to watch. Check out the transcript below!

In today’s video, we’re going to be talking about how talk about politics in your family and with your kids. I know that this is a very big topic right now, especially given our current political climate. And, I do think it’s really important, given all the attention to politics in the media, that we really take some time to talk about how do we discuss this with our children. So let’s jump right in.

So one of the many things that I enjoy talking about with my families and with my parents is not just what’s going on their home, but what’s going on in the world at large as well, because we all know that no matter what’s going on in our home, they’re things that are going on outside of our home with our environment; with our politics; with our lives that also really affect how we live our lives everyday.

One of those things that’s been getting a lot of media attention right now is politics and the current presidential race. And I have had a lot parents asked me how do I talk about this with my kid, without sounding biased or making my kid lean one way or the other. What I would like to do in this video is share how can you talk to your kids about politics without making them choose a side, but giving them a space where they can really share what they understand about politics, what they understand about government, and how they can move forward in developing their own understanding of politics and government.

Give A Quick Overview of How The Government Works

The first way that you can really give your kids a great foundation of discussing politics and government is just to give them a quick overview of what the government actually is. What are the three branches of government? How do they work together? What do each of those branches do and why do we even have them? I think sometimes we can all get swept up in hoopla, in the media circus, that is our current political system – especially in the way that things are shared on social media and on TV. But I think really starting with the basics – no matter how old your child is and even if they are in high school right now learning government – is going to be a great foundation to begin talking about this topic with your child. Discussing questions like: how did it start, why did it start, an why do we even have politics in the first place? This is a great place to start because there’s no bias in talking about history and there’s no bias in talking about the actual formation of our government. You don’t have to talk about just Democrats versus Republicans or X versus Y. You can just say this is our government, these are the three branches and this is how they always work in tandem to create our government system.

Starting with the basics and laying a healthy foundation for what the government actually is will help this discussion immensely.

Talk About Big Issues And Get Your Child’s Opinion

The second way that we can really begin to have a great conversation with our kids about government, politics and what’s going on currently in the world, is to really bring up some of the major issues that could be going on especially in America right now. You can be talking about healthcare; you could be talking about financial responsibility; you could be talking about human rights and civil rights for others. And even though our kids may not know everything that’s going on, you can open up a discussion where you ask them: do you currently know what’s going on in America right now? They can say yea or nay. Or you could ask: do you currently know any of the issues that the politicians or the Presidential candidates might be talking about? They may say yea or nay. From there you can ask their opinions on what they know, what have they heard, and what do they think. This part of the discussion begins to set the foundation for them to develop their own understanding of things. And remember, you definitely want to have that discussion in a nonjudgmental way, so that way they can feel like they can share their ideas about their government or politics with you. Now, if you and your child butt heads on certain topics or issues this is a great time to teach your kids how to discuss things when they may not agree with their friends, their teachers or other people in their social circle. Since you’re that first person that they are going to get to disagree with, you get to model for them how to disagree; you get to model with them how to not see eye to eye on certain issues. So definitely take some time to think about that when you guys are talking about things. And give your kid to save space to know that they don’t have to always agree with every single political or governmental ideas that you have. They don’t have to agree with it. And then talk about it and teach them how to really have that healthy discussion of how to agree to disagree.

Discuss big issues that are going on in our government, get their opinions, and model for them how to share their views – even they don’t agree with you or others.

Have Roundtable Discussions About Politics In Your Family

That one actually brings us into our next tip which is to really open up roundtable discussions in your family about politics, government and the state of our country and our world. I think so many things happen in a world, that we kind of glaze over or we just kind of allow the media to tell us how to think. And I think this is a great time for you to cultivate that sense of curiosity and that sense of understanding with your children by having roundtable discussions about things that are currently happening in the world. It could be the current presidential race, it could be something that’s happening in your community, it could be something bigger – like things that might be happening internationally. But to really begin to have a roundtable discussion where everybody in the family says, “Hey I read this news thing and I think this.” Or “Hey the teacher talked about this in class today and I don’t have anything about that, what is that?” Make it a point to begin to talk without judgments, without shaming each other, without calling each other names, but to really understand that you as the parent, you as that guide, can really begin to help your child cultivate healthy ways of expressing their ideas about cultural issues, community issues, world issues, political issues. You can really take that time to help them to cultivate what it means to have their own opinions about things that sometimes can be very tense and very intense.

Make roundtable discussions about politics and government a tradition in your family so you can cultivate a healthy sense of understanding and critical thinking in your child.

The Recap

So let’s do a quick recap. Here are three ways that you can talk about politics in your family and with your children:

  1. Do a quick overview: The first way is to start with an actual foundation and overview of what the American government actually is and why we even have that in the first place I think that’ll be a really good start and a really good foundation to even begin to discuss what’s currently going on in the presidential race, what’s currently going on in our political arena right now. Even if your kids old enough to be learning in school, I think it’s really good foundation to have that talk at home as well.
  2. Get your child’s opinion on big issues: The second thing you want to do is to bring up some of the issues that are currently going on in our current political arena. You might think that your kid doesn’t care or that they don’t want to know. But one day they will have to know, and one day they’re going to have to have these ideas and these opinions. So you definitely want to be able to have those discussions and even talk to them about the issues and get their opinions on what do they know and what do they think. Wit this tip I encourage you to also understand that sometimes your kids might not agree or see eye to eye with you and this is the perfect opportunity to guide them on how to agree to disagree.
  3. Have roundtable discussions about politics: Thirdly, you want to start a tradition of roundtable discussions around government and politics. I think being active citizens in our world also requires us to understand what’s currently going on in our political climate. How to pick a president? How to vote? All these things we should definitely be talking about with our kids even if they’re nowhere near the voting age yet. They will be one day and I think starting these roundtable discussions where they begin to cultivate that curiosity about their government, they begin to cultivate their own opinions about their government, will help them when they get old enough to begin to start thinking about voting and who they should vote for.

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