How do we talk to our kids in the aftermath of the election season?
I am not going to point my finger at you and tell you who you should have voted for, I just want to address the question... how do we help our kids deal with the negative noise that may be affecting the social and emotional help of our children and families?
Many people’s concept of the world we live in and the rights we cherish feels like it is being challenged. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings to yourself and to your children. Try to reassure them that they will be okay.
There is a lot of noise out there and a lot of it is full of hate and discriminatory comments. It can be very scary and confusing to kids and adults.
Here are some simple ways to talk, to protect and to strengthen your children right now.
Take care of yourself during these stressful times.Recognize that your children may be reacting to what is happening in the world but they are also reacting to you. Now is a good time to engage in self-care activities if you are experiencing heightened levels of anxiety or hopelessness.
Do things you enjoy, exercise, yoga, music, or read a good book. It may be a good time to turn off the news and get hooked on a new Netflix show.
Like I said in the beginning – make it clear to your kids that you are here and available to take care of them. Reassure and lots of love is critical.
It’s okay to have your feelings and let them out.It’s okay for your kids to see you upset, to see you cry and even to see your anger. Strive to find balance between your feelings of fear, sadness, frustration or joy. Remember the goal of processing any experience is not to avoid your feeling. Allow room to feel your emotions, to express them and then to move on.
Address the nasty bullying behavior that became commonplace during this election year by turning them into teachable moments. Remind your children:
Use this time to talk about your family’s interests, values and dreams. Take this opportunity to identify things that you as a family are passionate about and start doing them. Nothing makes a child feel safer than when they are doing things with their family.
I hope my list is helpful. If you have any suggestions please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individual, Marriage, and Family Psychotherapist