How to Parent in the Trump Era

After eight years, our nation has gone in another direction. Now racial slurs, sexism, and intolerance are gnawing at the edges of polite company, fraying the political fabric woven by an Obama administration that lifted up the government as the solution to repairing America.

In a short time, the Trump administration has stopped and even reversed President Obama’s course. Every day it seems like the world is spinning further out of control. You find yourself asking, “What’s next?”

Your children are wondering, too.

Parenting in the Trump Era will be no easy task.

The youth caught in the Trump era

Kids build their interpretation of the world based on what goes on around them.

They see and hear more than you think they do. The chances are good that your kids have already heard stories at school about deportations, both possible and real. They’ve witnessed aggressive behavior centering around politics. They’ve listened to adults arguing. None of it has been pretty, and less of it has been civil.

Situations like these can create immense anxiety in children. Their emotional stress may show up in a variety of ways, such as acting out, stress eating — or not eating at all, and developing nervous tells such as chewing on fingernails.

How to help your children

Allow your children to express their concerns about the current political climate. They may not be able to communicate their concerns in sophisticated terms, but they can tell you what bothers them. Listen to them.

It’s important to stay connected to what’s going on at school, especially if bullying is taking place. Known as the Trump Effect, the levels of harassment reported in schools has soared dramatically and become more toxic since the November 2016 election.

You are the role model

To parent in the Trump era, you will have to be the kinder, more tolerant person than those spewing hatred around you. It won’t be easy, but you will have to disagree agreeably.

You can also help your children do the same.

If you model the behavior you want to see in other adults, your children will know they also should act with respect rather than intolerance. The lesson is one that will transcend far beyond the Trump era: respect for each other never goes out of fashion.

What you can count on in the Trump era

As hard as it may be to predict President Trump’s next move, three things are certain.

  • Trump will offend everyone. People on both sides of the aisle will be disappointed, alarmed, and angry beyond words. Some will be terrified.
  • We have chosen to live in a democratically governed republic. We elect the officials we want carrying out our business. The good news is that no elected official remains in office forever. Neither will Donald Trump.
  • You have the power to make the change in this country with your vote.
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