1 March, 2017
Do You Talk Politics with Your Kids?
Tom, my father, never talked politics, not in polite company, not even in the privacy of his home. He was willing to discuss political matters only if I pestered it out of him (which was rare that I cared enough) but never shared his “side.” I wasn’t politically minded as a kid, I was into magic tricks and Atari but occasionally if an important election was about to happen or maybe there had been a history lesson in school that was politically related; I would ask dad about it. His response always came back around to a question aimed at me, “what do you think?” I was certain that other parents freely spouted their personal opinions about everything. I had several relatives that certainly did.
Talking Politics or Social Issues?
Our two daughters are in their 20’s and have already formed their personal political opinions; our 15-year-old son is mostly into electronic music and video games. We don’t spend much time around our house talking about politics, we might discuss current events and social issues, but there’s a difference between those subjects, a “huge” difference. (Trump reference).
Nothing can cause loud outbursts or pin-drop silence faster than the relative that wants to discuss President Trump’s “wall” or repealing Obamacare while passing the mashed potatoes at the family reunion. It’s rare when a relative can get laughs at the barbecue when talking welfare or the war on terror. Let’s leave those subjects to the Jon Stewart’s of the world or the cast of Saturday Night Live. No point in having a turkey leg slung across the room at your head.
Keeping Our Mouths Shut
Sometimes silence is golden, and we as parents should just keep our mouths shut. Was my father correct in how he handled my questions with more questions? I’m not sure. Somehow I did know which way he leaned politically although he never verbalized it. I believe children want to know how their parents stand on issues; it helps them to form their opinions and world views, and we can offer our opinions with love and respect.
How To Have A Healthy Discussion About Politics
- Personal opinions are just that, personal; your kids may not share the same opinion if they are old enough to have begun forming their opinions.
- Do not allow yourself to become upset.
- Ask your children what they think; what they have heard at school or from friends.
- If you are an online ranter, do not verbalize to your children in the same fashion that you do on social media.
- Do not be an online ranter if your children follow you on social media!