Election Season can often bring about stressful situations and tense discussions in any household and within any family. However, when a couple is no longer a couple, these disagreements can become wider and more stressful. In our current highly-divided political climate, these disputes can quickly turn into arguments. This begs the question; how do you deal with children during an election when two co-parents do not politically align?
Depending on the child’s age, these situations can be managed differently. For young children, while it is important to teach them about the government, elections and the importance of voting, parents should stick to hard facts such as who is running for office, what it means to be president, what voting means, and how you vote. It may not be appropriate to discuss with the children the different issues of an election or the difference between the candidates. If your child is old enough to know the differences or have questions about it, try to approach it from a neutral standpoint and describe the issues and the candidate differences without using any negative words or implying one stances is better or worse than another. If you have instilled the right values in your children, they don’t need to know all the details about why you support your candidate or why you loath the other candidate. Although it is acceptable for your children to know who you support, ensure that they know you respect the other parent’s right to support a different candidate.
For older children, they are likely to already have some opinions of their own. I, myself, remember “voting” in the 1992 election in school and having intense conversations about the candidates with my friends. Therefore, it may be appropriate to have a more in-depth conversations with them about the issues. You can also focus on their opinion about the candidates or on an issue and respectfully discuss your opinion without name calling or negative connotations about the candidate or party that you do not support or about the co-parent.
With both younger and older children, you may want to inform the other parent that they were asking questions and that you neutrally navigated their curiosities. You and your coparent may also want to consider having a proactive conversation about these topics before the child raises any questions. Regardless of how you and your co-parent handle a difficult election season, it is important to be respectful of your co-parent’s perspectives and to ensure the children are also respectful.
We at Seiden Family Law, LLC are always available to discuss how to handle any difficult topic that may arise. We are wishing everyone a happy and safe Election Day!