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JerryG

Kids and Politics

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Hi All,

I introduced myself in another thread a week or two ago:  I'm jerryskids who primarily posts at FFT and competes in IBL for FFLW for those of you who follow it.  I rarely post here but thought I'd throw my hat into the ring with a topic I find interesting.

In the "Biden Gaffe" thread somebody mentioned kids and politics... how do you approach the topic with your kids?  Obviously age matters.  Mine are 23, 21, and 18.  I'm conservative (actually mostly from a Constitutional perspective, otherwise more libertarian).  I'm not a "Trumper" but I voted for him in 2016 and will likely vote for him again. My wife and I try to not influence our kids' political positions but, they know where we stand.

How do you handle political stuff with your kids?  Please include ages if you think it is relevant.

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I am happy to distill my social beliefs and responsibilities upon my kids. Many times in political discussions.  

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We watched some of the 2016 HRC/Trump debates with my kid. He, at 7 years old, saw Trump for what he is and voluntarily boycotted McDonald's because Trump eats there. 

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Posted (edited)

Not my kid, but when I was a kid my father used to give me a note card with who to vote for on the card. I always took the card and went to the voting booth and voted the exact opposite in the 1998 and 2002 election. 

Edited by msudaisy26
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What’s up jerryskids. I have a soon to be 10 year old daughter who isn’t much into politics yet. She doesn’t like Donald Trump, but I don’t feed into that, I try to teach her to respect the President and to respect opinions on all sides. I think that’s the best I can do for her at this age. 

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My wife and I don't really discuss politics with our kids(8,7, & 5),  but they know Trump lies and uses language that is inappropriate in his speeches.

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13 minutes ago, Grace Under Pressure said:

What’s up jerryskids. I have a soon to be 10 year old daughter who isn’t much into politics yet. She doesn’t like Donald Trump, but I don’t feed into that, I try to teach her to respect the President and to respect opinions on all sides. I think that’s the best I can do for her at this age. 

Hello, Captain my Captain from LW Ronin, I think... I like your approach, respect of opinions on all sides is good.  

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My 9 year old knows I don't like Trump, but I don't talk about why. When he asks questions I try to take a vague macro level approach in responding. I want him to develop his own informed opinion. 

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2 minutes ago, Kal El said:

My wife and I don't really discuss politics with our kids(8,7, & 5),  but they know Trump lies and uses language that is inappropriate in his speeches.

So, how do they know Trump lies?  What specific lies?

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political.nokids.com

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6 minutes ago, JerryG said:

So, how do they know Trump lies?  What specific lies?

I couldn't tell you off the top of my head beyond name calling, as I said, we don't really talk politics.

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Jerry - are your kids currently in college? It's a good time for them to explore their political views.  I was pretty liberal in my early 20s and have grown more conservative over the years.  

I think any political discussion with your kids will be beneficial as long as views are explained and respect is maintained.  

My kids are still too young to have any serious political views.  They just echo what they hear.  

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My girls are already feeling the burn, thanks to their mother.  

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Ask them what they think would be a good first step. Shouldn’t this have come up like a decade ago though?

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1 hour ago, Max Power said:

Jerry - are your kids currently in college? It's a good time for them to explore their political views.  I was pretty liberal in my early 20s and have grown more conservative over the years.  

I think any political discussion with your kids will be beneficial as long as views are explained and respect is maintained.  

My kids are still too young to have any serious political views.  They just echo what they hear.  

Oldest (boy) is graduated, an engineer like his mom and dad.  He is super conservative, moreso than me, I don't expect him to explore any views.  The younger two (girls) are in college, both lean right because of growing up around us but have a lot of liberal influences with the people they interact with in school.

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My kids live in a liberal college town, so their politics follow. Discussed the differences in sexual harassment between Biden, Bloomberg, Bernie, and Trump with my 16 year old today. Son turns 12next week, he doesn’t care as much

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I’m not a fan of political discussions with children until they are old enough to grasp the concepts and complexities behind politics.  Each kid is different but mid to late teens is probably where that starts. I want my daughter to form her own opinions not be influenced by mine.  

It’s funny you bring this up at this time though.  On Sunday me and my friend were flying back from Utah and saw a family of 4 all wearing bright red MAGA hats. The kids were probably 5 and 7.  You couldn’t not see it as it stood out so much. I really feel like that’s not appropriate. To be clear they have the right too I’m not saying they don’t and I would feel it equally inappropriate had it been Bernie or Biden hats but those kids are clearly being indoctrinated into politics at a very young age by their parents.  I just flat out don’t want to do that to my child.  

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30 minutes ago, dkp993 said:

I’m not a fan of political discussions with children until they are old enough to grasp the concepts and complexities behind politics.  Each kid is different but mid to late teens is probably where that starts. I want my daughter to form her own opinions not be influenced by mine.  

It’s funny you bring this up at this time though.  On Sunday me and my friend were flying back from Utah and saw a family of 4 all wearing bright red MAGA hats. The kids were probably 5 and 7.  You couldn’t not see it as it stood out so much. I really feel like that’s not appropriate. To be clear they have the right too I’m not saying they don’t and I would feel it equally inappropriate had it been Bernie or Biden hats but those kids are clearly being indoctrinated into politics at a very young age by their parents.  I just flat out don’t want to do that to my child.  

I dunno, politics isn't that far from religion; it is a belief system.  Would you feel different if the kids were wearing crucifixes?  Or stars of David?  Or hijabs?  

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, JerryG said:

I dunno, politics isn't that far from religion; it is a belief system.  Would you feel different if the kids were wearing crucifixes?  Or stars of David?  Or hijabs?  

Probably not the best person to ask about that, I’m not a believer in organized religion.  But with that said, yes I do. I believe there is a big difference between the two.  Religion is attempting to answer fundamental unanswerable questions about the nature of our being.  We are hardwire to wonder about these questions. Politics is largely about managing our daily lives and it’s complexity.  My 4 year old has never asked about tax code or deficit management, but she sure does ask about what happens when we die or where her Grandma is now.  

Edited by dkp993
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1 hour ago, JerryG said:
2 hours ago, dkp993 said:

I’m not a fan of political discussions with children until they are old enough to grasp the concepts and complexities behind politics.  Each kid is different but mid to late teens is probably where that starts. I want my daughter to form her own opinions not be influenced by mine.  

It’s funny you bring this up at this time though.  On Sunday me and my friend were flying back from Utah and saw a family of 4 all wearing bright red MAGA hats. The kids were probably 5 and 7.  You couldn’t not see it as it stood out so much. I really feel like that’s not appropriate. To be clear they have the right too I’m not saying they don’t and I would feel it equally inappropriate had it been Bernie or Biden hats but those kids are clearly being indoctrinated into politics at a very young age by their parents.  I just flat out don’t want to do that to my child.  

I dunno, politics isn't that far from religion; it is a belief system.  Would you feel different if the kids were wearing crucifixes?  Or stars of David?  Or hijabs?  

I am old enough to remember a time a time in this country when it would have been considered sacrilegious to compare the President to Jesus.

But times were different back then because a Democrat was president and it was 2016.

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4 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

 Shouldn’t this have come up like a decade ago though?

My parents used to dress me up for Halloween as their favorite politician.  I still have that Richard Nixon mask.

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3 hours ago, Leroy Hoard said:

My parents used to dress me up for Halloween as their favorite politician.  I still have that Richard Nixon mask.

I’m just saying when I was growing up, politics/current events were always discussed as a family. Political views weren’t pushed upon us but my parents wanted us to know what was going on in the world.

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First of all, great thread. @JerryG, I hope you'll remain active in this forum and continue sharing your perspective.

My four year old (who is on the autism spectrum) has no idea what's going on in politics and doesn't even know who's president. My nine year old only follows politics at a superficial level, although he's gradually getting more and more interested. He hates Trump, and loves to watch those Randy Rainbow YouTube videos that satirize him.

As for how I handle it, I don't hide my own views, and I try to explain things to him on a level he understands (he was six when Trump was elected, and I think at the time I told him that he was "mean", which made me realize that, when it comes to Trump, sometimes simple declarative descriptions are the most accurate).

At the same time, I always keep in mind my brother's behavior during the Obama Administration. He's a conservative who hated Obama, but he told me he always wanted to model for his children that they should respect the office of the presidency. So while I may talk to my son about what offends me with Trump's behavior, from his handling of the coronavirus to caging children, I make a point not to go down the "orange man bad" route and make fun of his appearance, use schoolyard insults, etc. We also warn him when we're going to be around friends and family who are more conservative that he should be respectful of others who may not feel the same way about Trump or other issues.

Honestly, just putting all these thoughts in writing has made me realize that I should probably spend more time trying to get my boys interested in issues like climate change or immigration rather than personalities and elections. (That said, I took the older one with me when I went canvassing in 2016 and 2018, and hope to do the same this year as well. One lesson I very much want to impart to my boys is that they should view politics as a participatory sport, not a spectator one.)

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2 hours ago, zftcg said:

First of all, great thread. @JerryG, I hope you'll remain active in this forum and continue sharing your perspective.

My four year old (who is on the autism spectrum) has no idea what's going on in politics and doesn't even know who's president. My nine year old only follows politics at a superficial level, although he's gradually getting more and more interested. He hates Trump, and loves to watch those Randy Rainbow YouTube videos that satirize him.

As for how I handle it, I don't hide my own views, and I try to explain things to him on a level he understands (he was six when Trump was elected, and I think at the time I told him that he was "mean", which made me realize that, when it comes to Trump, sometimes simple declarative descriptions are the most accurate).

At the same time, I always keep in mind my brother's behavior during the Obama Administration. He's a conservative who hated Obama, but he told me he always wanted to model for his children that they should respect the office of the presidency. So while I may talk to my son about what offends me with Trump's behavior, from his handling of the coronavirus to caging children, I make a point not to go down the "orange man bad" route and make fun of his appearance, use schoolyard insults, etc. We also warn him when we're going to be around friends and family who are more conservative that he should be respectful of others who may not feel the same way about Trump or other issues.

Honestly, just putting all these thoughts in writing has made me realize that I should probably spend more time trying to get my boys interested in issues like climate change or immigration rather than personalities and elections. (That said, I took the older one with me when I went canvassing in 2016 and 2018, and hope to do the same this year as well. One lesson I very much want to impart to my boys is that they should view politics as a participatory sport, not a spectator one.)

Thanks @zftcg. I don't think that we talked to our kids about politics at that young age.  Perhaps "mean" is as good a word as any, if you are talking to a 6 year old.  I think I'd have just avoided it, or said something about not agreeing with him.  As parents we tried very hard (not always successfully) to talk about behaviors vs. labels/attitudes -- preferring phrases like "you are behaving like a raging lunatic" vs. "you are a raging lunatic."  Also while I was not a fan of Barack "present in the Senate" Obama the candidate, or of his policies as president, I always spoke respectfully of him.  I believe that you can both question a position in power and be respectful of that person.

That being said, over the course of dinner conversations as they got older, it was clear that my wife and I leaned right and in hindsight we influenced their thinking.  My younger daughter is an empath, very emotional and not an engineer like the rest of us (she reminds us of this often).  I feel like she was maybe deprived of the opportunity to embrace the pollyanna unicorn that is Bernie Sanders.  She has plenty of time later in life to learn that that isn't how life works in a successful economy.  But I'll stop there before I derail my own thread... 🙂

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10 hours ago, [scooter] said:

I am old enough to remember a time a time in this country when it would have been considered sacrilegious to compare the President to Jesus.

But times were different back then because a Democrat was president and it was 2016.

The president you speak of certainly had a following that had cult-like elements, particularly from the MSM which largely gave him a hall pass during his 8 years.  Anthropomorphic global climate change certainly has cult features; has poor Greta won her Nobel Prize yet? 

But that isn't the purpose of this thread.  :hifive:

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I've mentioned my 16 year old in a bunch of threads here before.  She's very politically aware, listens to left-leaning podcasts on a regular basis, has strong political opinions on a wide range of issues, and is a big fan of Bernie Sanders and that wing of the Democratic Party.

My 14 year old leans left too, I guess, but has no real interest in politics, does not spend any time informing herself, and hates when she's around other people talking politics.

I don't think that my ex-wife or I did anything overtly to push them in that direction, but I also never tried to hide my political preferences and we live in a more liberal part of the country.  I'm fairly left leaning and passionate about politics (my favorite candidate was Warren), my ex-wife is more moderate and fairly disinterested in politics (not sure who she liked best but I'd guess someone like Klobuchar).  

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My 15 year old son went to a highly integrated grade school (racial, social, income level, etc.) in our city where it seems just about everyone and their parents were anti-Trump.  This year, he's a freshman at a high end private Jesuit high school, which is mostly rich white kids with a few minorities and low-income kids sprinkled in through the school choice program.  He was absolutely shocked to see the MAGA stickers on kids' laptops and other gear.  I really think he didn't realize there were kids in this city who support Trump.  My main lesson to him has been, don't let politics get you angry or turn you against someone just because they (or their parents) are on one team or the other.  Basically, do as I say but not as I do.

My 9 year old daughter is happily oblivious to politics.

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I recently came to find out that my 4 year old is keenly aware of our dislike for Trump. We probably talk about it in front of her not realizing she is absorbing what we are saying. I'm really not into indoctrinating children and want her to form her own beliefs as she grows up. Back during the impeachment trials though, it was on the television while I was doing things around the house and she just sat there for quite a while watching it (without me realizing). She then proceeded to take our bar stools and line them up in the kitchen and sit on one of them with her hand in the air talking about "Donald Trump" and "we have to have a Constitution." I asked her what she was doing and she told me she was having a constitution for Donald Trump. 

We are trying to be much more cautious about what we talk about in front of her because she is way too young to understand this stuff. I'd like to think this would be the same philosophy as she gets older but wonder if we would be inclined to tell her how we really feel, so to speak.

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