Talking to Children About Politics and Government
Even Though They Might Not Be Interested, They Are Inundated
Before ubiquitous social media people had to search out the news of the day and information about what may be happening in government in Dallas, Austin or in Washington D.C. The campaign to elect former President Obama was the first to harness the power of social media. By moving campaign messages through social media, a candidate can reach an infinite number of people otherwise out of reach when knocking on doors and making public appearances. If your son or daughter has social media profiles, they are probably seeing the political ads and reactions. As it is timely, talking to children about politics and government is important.
Today, sponsored social media options allow campaigns to geo-target potential voters by using demographic criteria including age, education, location and general preferences. If you think they are not targeting your children who may be too young to vote, you may be surprised. Just like advertisers target children, so do political parties and candidates seeking to influence young people who may align with them as they grow older.
Teaching Kids About Civics, Elections and the Politics
If watching the recent SCOTUS Senate confirmation hearings has adults fired up, imagine how children may be reacting. While some ignore it all as boring adult stuff, others may be highly concerned.
Start with civility. A lesson about being civil with one another is important when laying the foundation upon which you can teach your children about government and democracy.
Since many schools have limited or eliminated government and civics classes from their curriculum, the responsibility to educate children about the world falls on parents, and many say rightfully so. Instead of teaching them partisan propaganda, focus on the basics of what different governmental bodies do and how the process of democracy allows us to elect our leaders. Talking about what motivates people to vote for different candidates can follow a general talk about people having a variety of morals, values and ideals in life and how they would like to see communities operate.
With Critical Thought and Compassion Children Are Better Prepared for Challenging Times
Reading between the lines and focusing on logic and reasoning is a skill some adults can find challenging at times. Teaching children about critical thought over time may help them figure things out on their own and not be swept up in whatever the current buzz may be on social media or when it may come up in discussion.
Teaching compassion and perspective is important. Explaining that while one group of people may be very emotional about a certain vote on confirming a nominated Supreme Court Justice, the world will still turn and there are many people who are doing just fine and going to school and work like any other day.
Mark L. Scroggins frequently talks about the importance of spending quality time with children and talking to them about important issues in their life. While you may think they care about political news, they might be completely disinterested now, and change their minds in six months. Mark L. Scroggins is Board Certified in family law and he and his talented team at Scroggins Law Group are available for legal advice and counsel on a variety of issues including talking to children about politics and government.