Can your child talk politics? As we get closer to elections we recognize that talking with your child about politics are dependent on your child’s age. Your discussions are highly hinged on what your child is old enough to understand.
In our previous blog we discussed the importance of talking to your young ones about politics. We supplied you with 5 questions to get the conversation started. You can see that blog here! As your child gets older, the more specific your conversations about politics can be. So how do you know when is an appropriate time to start this discussion? How do you, as a parent, know what information is too much information? Here is a our little guide for you:
When to start
You are not sure when to start talking to your children about politics. Well, join the club! Choosing a specific age is not as important as paying attention to notice when your child is paying attention. When you do notice your child is paying attention to politics that should signal you to start a conversation with them. This topic is not about choosing a specific age, but instead, choosing a specific time. Your kid has to have an interest, sometimes have an opinion, first before you can successfully talk leadership with them.
What is your purpose?
Why do you want to talk with your kids about politics? Make sure you know your purpose before having the conversation. Remember, education is what is important. Forming their opinions for them or trying to convince your child to take a specific stance should never be the goal. This is a learning opportunity for you to learn about your child’s thinking process and a learning opportunity for your child to learn about our government.
The older the more specific you can be
Depending on your child’s age, you may lose their interest if you get too specific about elections or policies. We don’t expect your child to have an opinion, much less understand, specific government policies. As your child gets older and their learning abilities grow you can be more specific about candidates, characteristics, leadership qualities, and even policy.
What are you teaching?
Talking with your children about politics is a teaching moment. They are learning from you how to process and form an opinion, how to evaluate in a new arena, etc. Remember that your goal is not to form a perspective for them but to encourage them to form a perspective for themselves. This means you don’t want to leave out the importance of respect. Respect is a learned behavior and if your child decides to have conversations with their peers about topics like politics they also need to learn how to respect a difference of opinion. After all, there is a fundamental difference between respect and tolerance and we all should practice both.