Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States of America. Hillary lost and America will need to accept the decision, after all, democracy doesn’t only work if your choice gets voted in. If you are a parent, you’re going to have to think about how to start the conversation and talk to your kids about President Trump.
There will be some difficult conversations for parents everywhere. Trump has behaved like a bully for much of the race, the type of bully we usually condemn, the type of tyrant we are talking about when we teach our kids that bullies don’t win.
I am not American and I don’t live in the U.S but I am still deeply concerned about this historic vote, from a personal point of view, I feel that Trump is dangerous. He is dangerous for the LGBTQ community, he is dangerous for POC, he is dangerous for immigrants, Muslims, the disabled and mostly, he is a terrifying prospect for women in general.
The way Trump has run his campaign, and I fear the way he will lead, is through rhetoric, threats, scandal and by making “xenophobia, misogyny, and racism” the new slogan for the USA.
Our children have watched this election, they have lived through it, whether or not we are US citizens, they are hearing hateful words and intolerant views expressed as fact.
How can we teach our kids to speak with kindness and respect when the leader of the free world trolls people on Twitter, calling them names and launching open attacks of cyber bullying?
It’s laughable that the intended first lady, Melania Trump had the gall to propose much of her work would be to fight online harassment when her husband (and now the President-elect) is practically the poster boy for internet bullying.
Trump has behaved deplorably in many situations, personifying the very unhealthy vices we teach our children to avoid- public meltdowns, insults, tantrums- he is more like a naughty toddler than a grown politician and we need to consider how we are going to talk to our children about his behavior, post election.
If you are feeling sadness at this result and are wondering how to broach the topic with your children and what it means going forward, then read on for some tips on how to address these issues as a parent:
Express Your Disappointment
It’s healthy for kids to see that even adults don’t always get what they want.
Don’t just generally say that Trump is “bad” explain (in age appropriate ways) the things Trump has said or done that have upset you, this will help your child to think critically about politics and to always search for answers and research, rather than believing blanket statements without proof.
Remind your children that many good people voted for Trump. Sure there were some ignorant,racist, undesirables that got him where he is this morning, but it’s not helpful to demonize half the country.
Calm Their Fears
Children are so intuitive and pick up on things we think we are being discreet about, so make sure to explain that the world will keep turning and that their immediate safety is not in jeopardy.
Continue To Be A Role Model
Just because you are bitterly disappointed about this result and the future we all now face is no excuse to resort to insults or to behave like a crazy person, keep that in check until little ears are not listening.
About the issues you care about- keep reminding your children of your core values- whether it’s marriage equality, women’s rights or questions abut race and identity prejudice, keep presenting your children with the facts and maintaining respect and equality for all as your family motto.
Talk About Social Protest
Encourage your kids to get involved in the issues that matter to them and discuss the political process. Being informed and proactive makes children feel engaged. When we are passive we can feel victimized, so help them to do something positive.
Talk To Them
Discuss their worries and fears, address misinformation they may have heard and allow them an opportunity to vent.
We don’t know yet how the coming days will unfold, whether Trump will soften on his pre-election promises and allow the rest of Government to temper his policies or whether this will turn out to be the real-life post-apocalyptic fever dream of neo-Nazis everywhere.
Only time will tell.