A BITTER FACT: Unless you control your upset about the election, you are passing your feelings on to your children. Not good.
I rarely say parents are at fault, but am hearing far too many complaints about how children are upset by the election. Then there was learning that my grandson’s first grade class held an election and the kids whose candidates lost were upset. Well, no child likes to lose, but no child who is just learning to read knows the difference between POTUS and the man in the moon and the Tooth Fairy.
Do I sound cranky, well I am. I do not like to see children hurt or parents misguided and much of today’s parenting advice and the media promote the idea that children are as wise or wiser than adults. Not true. Children are not little adults and their thought processes are not like ours.
As Thomas Phelon, author of One, Two, Three Magic, notes, “Adults who believe in the Little Adult Assumption are going to rely heavily on words and reasons in trying to change the behavior of young kids. And words and reasons are going to be miserable failures much of the time.”
Moreover, the younger the child, the more your feelings become their feelings. So if your child is upset about the election, check your feelings and deal with the angst in ways that will not harm your children.
Emotional Fitness Training Tips for Parents
Tip one: Remember age and stage.
Children learning to read are just moving to what some call “The Age of Reason.” Before then their thinking is what Piaget, the leading researcher in this area call Sensory Motor and then Pre-operational
Pre-operational thoughts are often described as magical. Piaget says they are based primarily on what the child sees and perceives on his or her own. Best example: Children of this age think the people on television are actually living inside your tv. Dolls and toys come alive during make-believe play.
The next stage is generally entered into as the child’s brain develops enough so s/he learns to read which why many calls it “The Age of Reason, ” but as Piaget notes, thinking is limited to what the child can see and touch. The child can begin to think about other people’s thoughts and perspective, but this ability is limited; the child’s interpretations are based more on their own thoughts and rarely extend to one or two other possibilities.
From puberty on, the capacity to think abstractly develops. The abstract thinker is no longer bound by the concrete or their ego-centric views. S/he can imagine countless possibilities which is why abstract thinking teen embrace the occult.
Two problems exist with regards to abstract thought. Not every one gets there. Estimates vary but probably slightly over 50% of all adults are abstract thinkers. More over trauma dumbs down the ability to think abstractly.
The other problem relates mainly to teens or those first acquiring the ability to think broadly, judgement may be limited. Why teens will take risks that thinking adults will avoid.
Tip two: Use knowledge of age and stage to guide you and keep your angst from affecting your child in all the wrong ways.
Do not discuss or expose children under the age of ten to political talk either yours or the media’s.
If the child asks why you are unhappy, or seems concerned about you, do not deny your feelings but leaven them for the child with a comment like the following: “I’m upset about grownup things, try not to be bothered.” Then divert the child with something s/he enjoys. “Lets play Uno, that will cheer me up.” “Lets make cookies, that is always good to do when upset.”
With those moving toward abstract thought, you can say the election results upset you and invite discussion about what they know about who won, who lost and why some people including you are upset.
It is probably a good ides to also admit that part of your upset is illogical, mainly because you are awfulizing (imagining the worse) and trying to predict the future which is not possible.
Tip three: Get involved in one or another civic activity and let your children know you how you are taking action to counter your fears and upset. Doing any of the following strengthens you that helps your children:
- Stay informed, avoid faux news, bias reporting. The disputed issues are always complicated.
- Stay calm.
- Promote calm in others.
- Seek support for your views from groups allied with your beliefs.
- Offer moral and financial support to groups and people allied with your beliefs.
- Condemn violence and calls for violence even when you agree with the source’s political agenda.
- Protest by respectfully stating your views via phone calls and letters to politicians and media sources.
- Seek common ground from those who do not agree with your politics.
- Stay focused on the common good.
Tip four: Improve your self-soothing skills and teach your children how to seIf-sooth. My eBook, Self-soothing To Create Calm in Your Life will help you do both. It is on sale not for $3.06. Buy it now. It will do you more good than a latte and costs less.
Tip five: If you cannot control your feelings enough to do the above, get therapy. Also my book Parents Are People Too, An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents strengthen therapy outcomes. Buy it now to read on your computer or kindle. It is also available for a penny and on up in the used paperback edition.
Thank you for all you do
Remember to share all you find of value on the internet. All who post crave recognition. A like says “Thank You.” Comments say you have read and thought about the post. Sharing is a gift to three people: the blogger, the people you share with, and you for your kindness blesses you.
Stay strong, it takes some effort for life can be a painful struggle.
Post Inspiration: This post was not inspired by the WordPress Daily Prompt: Echo, but by the repeated (echoing) posts and thoughts about how the recent election was hurting children.
Links of Interest
These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.
- Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
- The five components of emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)
- About Emotional Fitness Training (emotionalfitnesstraining.com)
- An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents (amazon.com)
Disclaimer two: Take all advice even mine, carefully. Don’t just listen to your heart, but also think; don’t just think, listen to your heart. Heart and head working together increase the odds you will find useful advice amid all the promises and hopes pushed at you be others. As others have noted, take what seems useful, leave the rest.
Disclaimer two: Forgive my grammatical errors
If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here; I will understand if you don’t follow, like or share what like me. Not only am I dealing with an aging brain, but all of my life I have been plagued by dysgraphia–a learning disability, Some of my posts might be peppered with bad spelling, poor punctuation, and worse words that make no sense. If you want to hang in with me, thank you; you are kind. If a post doesn’t make sense or bugs you too much, stop reading, I will understand.