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Advice on talking to your children post-election

Posted at 5:50 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 17:50:22-05

Days after the election, the country is still in limbo wondering who our next president is. It can be stressful for adults, but we have to remember, our kids are watching, too.

"The divisiveness has gotten so significant, and we really can’t help prevent our kids from getting exposed to it," said Children's Hospital Colorado child and adolescent psychologist Dr. Jessica Hawks.

For months before this polarized election, children have seen attack ads, rallies, and protests. Our country is so divided with this election, and it's still not over.

"It’s inevitable that they’re going to see it," said Dr. Hawks.

So, Dr. Hawks says instead of trying to shield our children, we should be open and have age-appropriate conversations.

"A lot of times parents worry that approaching these sensitive topics can somehow be unhelpful, or maybe amplify the problem, but the opposite is true. Talking about it is really important," said Dr. Hawks.

But it’s not just talking with our children. We have to be mindful of the conversations we have with the other adults in our house.

"As parents, we have to be really aware of how we’re showing up every day in front of our kids to make sure we’re doing the things we need to be doing to help promote our kids’ health and well-being," said Dr. Hawks.

She says this is a great opportunity to teach our kids several lessons. One is how to be a critical thinker.

"One of the things parents can be doing right now is teaching their kids how do you evaluate the information out there in a critical way, look to trusted news sources to be able to inform people's opinions," said Dr. Hawks.

Another thing you can teach your kids is how to have differing viewpoints.

"It’s important that kids learn how to stop, listen, ask questions, be open to other people’s perspectives, and be able to do that in a way that maybe at the end of that conversation, you don’t change your opinion, but you have the ability to engage in that important political discourse in a respectful way," said Hawks.

Especially in this election that’s split so closely down the middle.