There has long been a saying that “family and politics don’t mix.” In reality however, family and politics must mix as parents have a responsibility to discuss the nature of politics and our system of government with their children so that we may have educated voters for our future. Here we discuss several reasons why talking with children about good thing.
My mom and I talked about politics a lot when I was growing up. It was something that made me feel close to her. I’m reminded of her every time it gets close to an election.” -Darcy, 54
Talking about politics can be a way to discuss the values and beliefs that are important to your family. It can also be a way for parents to learn about the values and beliefs of their children. Even if your opinions differ, you can teach your children how to argue their point in an intelligent and respectful way.
I was really young when 9/11 happened and I remember watching President Bush’s speech following that event with my family. I was really afraid because my dad worked in a high rise building. My parents spent a lot of time reassuring me that he was going to be okay.” -Kennedy, 23
One of the biggest reasons parents should talk about politics with their kids is that they are already exposed to it. Children encounter news and information through television, internet, radio and even their peers at school – and much of it is likely overwhelming or confusing to them. By discussing what they are hearing, parents can ensure that their kids are understanding what they’re exposed to and can address any concerns they have. Especially for younger children, providing information and reassurance can help dispel any fears they may be dealing with.
One of my best memories about politics growing up was when my father took me with him to the voting poles. I was fascinated by the process and felt really invested in the results of that election.” – Jerry, 28
Many children “learn by doing,” so when parents take them to polls, or watch debates together, it can be a powerful educational tool. Take time to discuss your kids’ thoughts and impressions afterwards. These experiences can help them become more civic-minded adults and be able to critically evaluate information from various sources.
My parents were always knowledgeable about politics when I was a kid and my parents loved to debate their beliefs, especially during long car rides. I’m pretty sure that was when I first started thinking about becoming a lawyer.”- Stacey, 34
Talking with kids about politics can be meaningful and fun. So take advantage of our current political atmosphere as an opportunity to engage your family in conversations you may not always think to have. The experience is sure to have an impact on them – and you.