For roughly half of the country this is an introduction that probably seems unimaginable. This morning’s headlines paint an incredibly dire picture for our communities and our country. If you are a parent, I urge you to take pause and step in as a voice of reason for your child. Kids will hear a lot of things over the coming weeks but at the end of the day your words will resonate most strongly with them. Even if you’re feeling defeated, do not underestimate how powerful you are when it comes to your child.
Regardless of which box you checked on election day, facing the reality of a Trump presidency means taking a firm stance on respect within your family and within your community. As a parent, it will be more important than ever to step into the spotlight and demonstrate respectful behavior. Over the next four years it’s highly unlikely that Donald Trump will depart from his largely unfiltered communications. That said, you are your child’s most important role model (even behind all the eye rolls, shoulder shrugs, and other indicators of being ignored).
This may be hardest to pull off when it comes to voicing your opinions regarding the new leadership of our country. If you are able to share your thoughts and feelings while choosing respectful words then you set the tone that disrespect is not tolerated. If and when your child hears disrespectful commentary, it will register with them and it will feel wrong. It will feel inappropriate. At the end of the day, that’s exactly what you want as a parent.
I wish we lived in a world where everyone communicated respectfully, but that is not the reality. Making sure that your child expects the adults around them to adhere to the same basic rules they’ve learned in preschool and kindergarten will prevent them from falling into the habit of thinking rude, hurtful commentary is acceptable.
Today I woke up early (despite having been up way too late last night) to tell each of my kids the outcome of the election. One was incredibly invested in the fate of the presidency, the other had chosen to remain on the sidelines of this campaign. My message to each of them was crystal clear: No matter what happens at school today I expect you to behave appropriately. I expect you to respect your friends and your teachers and to choose your words wisely when you’re sharing your thoughts and your opinions. I told them that I trust they will make good decisions and that I am here for them if they have any questions.
This was the best I could do this morning. I meant every word. I trust that my children will conduct themselves the way they’ve learned to conduct themselves because of the values our family demonstrates on a daily basis, not because of what they might see or hear from a political leader, a musician, or a professional athlete. As a parent, I stand firmly in my power this morning knowing that I have a tremendous impact on my children regardless of who lives in the White House. Please don’t let anyone take that confidence away because your child needs your guidance now more than ever.