Adults and children alike are struggling with the recent election of Donald J. Trump, especially as children have been privy to adult conversations concerning President-Elect Trump’s plans and how certain populations may be impacted. As adults, we have the power to make children feel safe even if and when they are not, which is essential to decreasing their stress levels as well as our own.
Here’s how to decrease your child’s stress level–and your own–concerning the recent presidential election.
1. Be smart about YOUR conversation concerning the Election. Children look to adults for guidance. Everything you say and do is a model for what children think they should be saying and doing. If you speak or appear to feel negatively, so will they. Speak neutrally and hopefully about the Election results so that listening children will learn that they do not have to hate the results just because some adults do.
Children may also be encouraged to speak negatively about the results in order to appease or win the approval of adults.
2. Encourage children to get their own facts and feel their own emotions. Children are sponges. They soak up everything. A lot of the fear children are feeling is based upon what they’ve heard adults say about the candidates and the Election. Perhaps you may sit down with children and look at the President-Elect’s website. Read the website together and discuss the implications of proposed policies. From now on, watch the President-Elect’s speeches and actions together with children, and discuss whether or not what he says and does is in line with his promises.
3. Remind children that adults are not perfect. Explain that sometimes even adults are not honest and make mistakes. For example, a lot of people were not honest about their intentions to vote for Trump. Some adults did not have the gutts to vote for Trump, so they didn’t vote at all–which is essentially a vote, especially in a race as tight as this one.
4. Remind children about the importance of voting and use this as an opportunity to promote civic education. Many adults have expressed disappointment and shock about the Election results, but many adults did not vote. Explain to your children that not voting is voting, in the sense that it decreases opposition for candidates.
5. Look at the bright side. Trump’s presidency reminds us that America really is the land of opportunity. Look at these tweets: