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Historic Turnout by Young Voters Means Big Responsibility for Parents

Dr. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker

America has just witnessed a historic midterm election. Voter turnout, tension, anxiety, and excitement were all at an all-time high. Many states are reporting a higher voter turnout during this midterm than they’ve seen in decades.

Among this high turnout are young people. During early voting, Reuters reported that several states were seeing a huge increase in voters under the age of 30 compared to other elections. In Texas, early and absentee voting by young voters increased by more than 400 percent. In Florida, young voters were up by 131 percent. In Arizona, by 217 percent.

To me, this means that our young people are caring more about politics than ever and this starts before the age of 18. A lot of these voters voted for the first time this week, meaning they’ve been keeping an eye on politics for the past few years and were ready to vote now that they were eligible.

This is excellent news for our democracy. We need young people to be involved and to vote, but this is also serious news for parents. How you parent your child through election season matters. They’re paying attention and they will be ready to vote the instant they are able to. Because of this, these next few days are crucial. How you parent after an election like this will affect your child and either help him feel equipped to vote later on or make him feel more confused and anxious.

How you parent your child through election season matters. They’re paying attention and they will be ready to vote the instant they are able to.

In order to ensure your child feels equipped and confident rather than anxious and confused, here are some tips for how to parent after this incredible midterm election.

Teach them how to handle disappointment.

As you process the election results, your kids will be watching. If you feel any level of disappointment, make sure that you elevate the conversation in your home. Rather than dive into the name-calling like many of the candidates did, talk to your kids about what to do when things don’t go their way. Talk to your kids about the election process, results and why you are disappointed if you are, but refuse to call politicians names. Talk about how things will change in the country and then ask your kids what they think.

If you didn’t get your way, then tell them what you intend to do with your concerns. Also, talk with your kids about how this momentous occasion came to be. Involve them in your thought process. And now, talk about the importance of living with differences and disappointment but moving forward with mutual respect for others.

Show your kids how to disagree with others in a healthy manner.

As your kids have listened to you talk about the debates, or perhaps watched some of the debates in your own state themselves, this is a great opportunity to talk about how to disagree with others in a healthy way.

Don’t bully your kids in your home to view politics in the same way you do. Teach your kids what you believe and why. Then teach them how to disagree with others in a respectful manner. After all, vibrant debate stimulates thought, and disagreement defines a democracy that is so critical to American life. We have two parties for a reason: because people hold differing views and yet work together. If we fail to show the next generation how to disagree with others yet still respect and work with them, they learn to give up on fighting for what they believe is right. Then, we all lose.

Don’t bully your kids in your home to view politics in the same way you do. Teach your kids what you believe and why. Then teach them how to disagree with others in a respectful manner.

Work on building a strong character of kids in your home.

Remember, senators and governors change but your job as a parent never does. Your responsibility is to keep the children living under your roof moving forward and growing into strong young adults. You don’t have a four-year limit on your term as parent and that’s a wonderful thing.

In the days ahead, focus on the things in your home that really matter and remember the famous words of the late Barbara Bush: “Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house.”

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