GUEST POST: Politics and parenting – 3 ways to keep politics from affecting your parenting

Politics and parenting

I don’t know about you, but in our household, things have been a bit tense since the new president took office. The breakneck pace of executive orders, coupled with the rollback of constitutional rights has been astounding. This in turn, has impacted stress levels the world over—let alone the way we interact with our families. I’ve noticed the past couple of weeks, fuses are short, and when we’re not careful, kids can bear the brunt of the clap back. This is especially true when they’re already in the doghouse for something else—poor grades, poor attitudes, bad manners, etc.

My eleven-year-old son is one of those kids this year. Ordinarily a stellar student, he’s hit his pre-teen years with a disappointing downward turn. While we’ve been working on the school issues and attitude problem well before the inauguration, continuing to deal with the lack of enthusiasm and effort has become increasingly trying. We’re talking resorting to nitpicking the heck outta the poor kid, which in turn backfires spectacularly. If anything, it makes him shut down. Being a mum stinks sometimes.

The analogy I gave last week helped him to understand all the attitude from me isn’t just because of him. It was the beginning of an awareness in me, and a ray of sunshine in his attitude that may well be a turn around. (I’ll keep you posted.) Here’s what I said, “We need to talk. I need you to know this short fuse some adults have right now isn’t all about you or what you’ve been doing wrong. Look at it this way, kiddo: If you have a pile of wood that’s been dried out for weeks and someone lights a match nearby—what do you think would happen?” His answer was, “It would go up in flames.” Exactly. While he might have been the match that finally causes the fire (aka crabby Mom who finally explodes), it was the already ripe conditions (fear, angst, anger, worry) that made everything so combustible.

Turn off the news

It doesn’t matter where you get it from—CNN, BBC, Facebook. Shut it off. Or at the very least, put yourself in a mummy timeout from the inundation of bad news. Why not have a specific time of the day when you check in, catch up, and then turn it off?

Talk to your children

You may be surprised by just how much information your kids are picking up in the world around them. Everyone’s talking about it. Even your kids. Classmates with differing opinions, (or differing household opinions) are bound to raise their own anxieties. Check in with them to see where they’re at. It will help you both decompress.

Get Active

If you live in a little town (like I do), being active doesn’t necessarily translate into big marches or demonstrations. This can leave a person feeling a little out of sorts. Pick something you CAN do, and do it. Donate to a cause, volunteer time, write about it. Whatever makes you feel good, do it. Wallowing never served anybody. Am I right?

Ensuring our children’s future is bright and that their potential can be unleashed  is important. However, we must stay grounded and remind ourselves not to dim the lights on our kid’s present in the process. Times are trying, sure. They might even get worse before they get better. But that’s why we’re here to be the buffer for them.

Carissa Andrews is a passionate author and freelancer from Minnesotan with a focus in creative writing. She joined in 2014.

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