No matter your political leaning, presidential elections can take a psychological toll on everyone. It is both a privilege and a responsibility to help select the person who will guide our country through good times and bad. We are a country of many opposing viewpoints, and every person is at liberty to speak their mind and express their opinions, which is part of what makes America such an amazing place to live. Following our most recent election, people have expressed a range of emotions, from disappointment and fear to joy and elation.
We’ve also seen instances of disturbing language and prejudice occurring in schools, online, and in the media. Children are watching and listening. They are often not sure how to process all of the information they see and hear, and likely don’t know how to feel.
It is important not only to discuss the results of the election with your children, but also to help them cope with the ensuing rhetoric and events. But how do you do this in a positive way?
- First, take care of yourself. Your children can sense your emotional state when you are anxious or stressed. Discuss your thoughts and feelings with another adult so your child views your demeanor as balanced and calm when you speak with them.
- Next, discuss. Talk about the results of the election and what those results mean for you, your family, and the nation. Ask your child what they have heard and what their areas for concern may be. Try to explain your thoughts as simply as possible.
- Then, listen. Listen to your child’s fears, concerns, and questions. Answer their questions directly, and reassure them that they are safe and that you are a support system for them.
- Finally, monitor media exposure. Social media, the internet, and even news shows can be hubs for misinformation, especially during a tense time. Monitor, and consider limiting, your child’s access to social media sites and television to help ensure that the media they are consuming is accurate and legitimate.
You can help serve as a source of comfort and safety in your child’s life by following the tips above. Have any of these tips worked for you? How have you been communicating with your child following the election? Share in the comments below.