Stimulating Political Talk With Your Kids
Kids learn about recent events in school – and sometimes get exposed to, and talk about, political issues. But what about at home? Do you go out of your way to bring the political world into your conversations with your kids? Today Golnar Khosrowshahi of GoGoNews shares her own experiences in talking politics with her kids in this guest post.
Over the course of the past week, the conversation in my household has been focused on the election of François Hollande and the departure of Nicolas Sarkozy. While it would be nice to say that my highly intellectual children initiated these conversations on their own accord, the reality is that I enticed them into talking about the French elections with a description of the swearing in ceremony at the Elysée Palace and images of Hollande’s parade up the picturesque Champs Elysée! Regardless of how I engaged them, the result was a politically charged conversation about the elections, the process, and the topical issues the French people are grappling with today. Our conversation weaved into more general concepts such as the incumbent versus the challenger, campaigns and how scheduling voting day on a Sunday can impact voter turnout.
My motivation to have these politically charged conversations with my children is just one of many tactics I use to avoid raising children who will end up as entitled adults. I find that one of the biggest challenges parents today face is that we are raising the “me” generation – the generation that is pandered to to such an extent that when adulthood rolls around, they can’t help but have a sense of entitlement.
Last year, I exposed my children to the events leading up to the uprisings in north Africa and the subsequent results. Examples such as these provided a great opening to develop an appreciation and gratitude for the democratic process. It also dispelled the idea that ‘not everyone lives like we do’ and was yet another strike against the foothold of the ‘me generation’!
While our conversation may have been about France last week, it is so easy to find political conversations that are closer to home. Local politics are convenient topics to discuss because it is an accessible way to have a conversation that is relevant to a child and the impact of governance on a local community. Furthermore, this being a federal election year in the United States provides the perfect platform to have an ongoing discussion throughout the campaign and party nomination process.
My hope is that these political conversations will engage my children to their community moving them from ‘me’ to ‘we’ and forcing them to think about the governance of the world around them on their own terms. I am also hopeful that during their thought process, whether consciously or not, they develop an appreciation for the democratic process and for civic duty. And who knows, then maybe all of this political talk will foster a sense of leadership?
Golnar Khosrowshahi is the founder of GoGoNews, a website that publishes up to the minute, age appropriate current events for children. She has also written for The Huffington Post and been featured in many technology and parenting related columns. You can read featured guest blog posts by her here at Red-Hot Parenting the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month.