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Parents Talk: Do You Talk to Your Kids About Politics?

Use this forum to discuss kid issues with other parents. This week, we tackle children and politics.

Election Day may be over, but that doesn't mean we will stop hearing about politics any time soon. 

This varies widely with age of course, but many kids want to know what is being talked about on TV, the radio and at family gatherings. So when political chatter arises, do you explain to your children what's being talked about or do you give a general answer?

Do you feel like your kids should believe what you do or make up their own minds?

"Of course, part of the cool thing about being a parent is creating 'mini-me's,' and in Washington that means creating a new generation of party members, regardless of what party you're affiliated with," wrote Tracy Grant in a Washington Post blog.

And, what if your family is split on an issue/candidate or you're not ready to explain a given issue to your child yet?

How do you handle kids and politics? Tell us in the comments are below. 

Becky Glander November 09, 2012 at 04:17 AM
Good point, James. It seems there is always a relative or 2 who have very loud opinions (usually ones you don't agree with). How do you set a good example for your kids when you want to speak up?
Ruth Olson-Martin November 09, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Wanting to "speak up" may be what parents are doing wrong in front of their kids. All kids learn is how to argue and try to win with verbal arguments....that is for law school. The best thing is to put the energy wanting to argue into physical getting involved with personally working with candidates to get to know their values first-hand, rather than getting upset by what arguers love to spread...bad influence on our kids. Get involved at the city council level to know first-hand, bring children to meetings to observe...discuss how others behaved on the way home, was it helpful, was it against the way we want to behave, etc. When we as parents talk too much with showing our upset, that bothers kids in ways we can't imagine.
Joshua November 09, 2012 at 06:46 PM
When it comes to politics, there's a difference between telling your kids what you as a parent believe versus telling them that your beliefs are the correct ones. I think that's the fundamental problem with my generation, and possibly the baby boomers. The older I get, the more it seems that intolerance is the reason that's polarizing this nation. I also think that the media and mass communication has a factor in this trend.
Mikki Morrissette November 15, 2012 at 11:24 PM
I recently finished work with 7 Minneapolis middle schoolers who interviewed 12 family, friends and colleagues of Paul and Sheila Wellstone. The ultimate take-away for the book they helped write, "Be the Change," is that: 1) it is important to know what you stand for -- and then stand for it even if it is unpopular; 2) one individual can make a big difference in the world simply by respectfully listening to people whose voices don't often get heard, and then organizing a collective voice to help them speak -- at the polls, in the legislature, with community leaders. And yes.... I think it's never too early to share that true message. From page 58: When we asked Dan Cramer [Grassroots Solutions founder] about Paul’s greatest accomplishment, he said that it probably was not a single piece of legislation that Paul helped get passed. He thinks Paul would say that it was his visits to Minnesota schools, into communities all across the state, having conversations with kids about politics, about what is going on in the world. "He talked with thousands of kids about the future. ‘That’s the most important thing I did,’ I think Paul would say.”

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