What To Tell Your Daughter About Election Night While Waiting For The Final Outcome
The extreme closeness of the 2016 election is like watching a horror flick, and I am literally on the edge of my seat (with probably very high blood pressure). Even though I've waited and pinned for this night with a mix of excitement and nervous enthusiasm, many mothers of daughters who are scared out of their minds may be wondering what to tell your daughter about election night while waiting for the final outcome.
My first motherly instinct is to shield, reassure, and remain strong for my two daughters. Both are elementary aged and probably having a difficult time deciphering the complexities of this election, however, they most definitely can feel the magnitude of significance. They can sense how important and momentous this election is for our country and for them.
Turns out I'm not the only one that is thinking about the right things to say as we wait for the results. These tweets sums up the sentiments of many mothers grappling with the stress and reality of a very divided country.
Hardest part of tonight: reassuring my 12-year-old daughter. I told her she will be ok no matter what. Wish I could say same for us all.— Dana Milbank (@Milbank) November 9, 2016
West coast parents, what are you telling your girls? Esp tweens & teens? I'm lost.— Elizabeth Weil (@lizweil) November 9, 2016
Many parents want to be candid with their kids, but to an age appropriate level so as not to cause further confusion or stress. Here are five tips to help you navigate conversations with your kid as you wait for the final results on election night.
1"I Like The Candidate Because. . ."
Obviously things this election season have beyond tense, but try to remain positive and focus on why you like a particular candidate. There have been tough issues, discussions, and seriously scary disagreements across party lines and otherwise. Kids Health explained that the best thing to do is use the opportunity to show them that you can voice different opinions firmly, while being respectful. Although you may feel like screaming at the TV and throwing you smart phone across the room when the candidate you don't favor gains votes, the website suggested trying to focus on why you like your candidate, and talk about it with your kids.
2"Everything Is Going To Be OK"
Reassurance is key. If you're a mother of a daughter that has heard any of the election rhetoric either on TV, through classmates, or at the home dinner table chances are you've had to have some pretty tough conversations. Some of which may have focused on appearances of women, sexual assault, and bullying. These are uncomfortable and frankly scary topics for parents to navigate with sons and daughters.
According to Kids Health, it's wise to listen if your kid brings up concerns and try to reassure them that everything will be OK. If your daughter is worried about something specific, explain to her in the most age-appropriate way how you plan to handle the problem.
3"If You Don't Like This, Get Involved."
Sometimes it just feels better to take action in regards to your convictions. It can feel empowering and like you're doing something effective. Kids can do that too in their own ways. Kids Health explained that encouraging kids to think about ways to do small things that make a big difference is vital to their problem-solving skills. No matter what the outcome is, letting your daughter know that she can make a difference if she wants to will help her focus less on the results, and more on being an active citizen.
4"The Candidates Might Be Trying To Freak People Out."
If your daughter is scared by what she has heard from a particular candidate, a Purdue University child development expert encouraged parents to break down how fear is used during an election.
Judith Myers-Walls in Purdue University News said adults probably understand that fear-mongering is an election tactic, but it's important for kids to understand that they are not doomed by one candidate or another.
5"I Know The Election Is Special For You Too."
Maybe they can't vote, but this election is important to them too. It will be historical for them too. The same Purdue University article noted that no matter who wins, you'll want your kid to remember it and hopefully look back at it nostalgically.
No matter how you feel about election night and the roller coaster ride, the best thing to do is comfort your daughter and let her know that you're the parent and you'll do everything you can to make sure they are safe and happy.