Kennedy: Politics and kids -- parents, it's time for the new 'talk'

Ask your kids what they're hearing at school and how they would vote

For the sanest of politicos, these times are unprecedentedly crazy. Politi-sport has replaced baseball and gameshows as our national past times and our collective obsession with politics naturally trickles down to our precious and tormented children. 

 
We can't ignore our doppelgangers and assume the constant political angst doesn't equally roil them. Some parents are downright scared and confused as to how to broach the subject.

If politics doesn't come up in your house much, now is a glorious time to bring it up. It's tempting to take a heavy hand to convince the wee ones to parrot our correct views, but that's a hand written invitation to rebellion. There is no pointier thumb to jam in the eye of an emotional parent than an opposing political bent. 
 
Instead, ask your kids what they're hearing at school and how they would vote.

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Then tell them about the good old days when teachers were sobbing in your school hallway at the shocking Dukakis loss.

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You'll be amazed how many opinions they ponder and avoid on any given day, and since most school is still remote they get a shocking amount of propaganda on social media.

My girls show up with the most comical questions: "Does Donald Trump really have gold toilet seats in the White House? Is Joe Biden really a hair sniffer? Are all cops bad??" Pretty sure it's a "no" to all of those, but you have to be wide open and patient because discussing politics with your children is the new "talk." Only slightly more graphic and uncomfortable.

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And, of course, we are not just navigating social landmines from bullies who want to cancel anyone in the friend group who dare leans MAGA, there's also a real possibility that places all over the map might erupt in violence if there is not a "favorable" outcome.

So, in addition to running interference between your child's granola munching art teacher and his or her fertile psyche, you also have to make a disaster plan of where to meet if society's seams suddenly rip apart.

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Oh, and make sure they never leave the house without some water and a protein bar. And it never hurts to teach them how to fish or whittle a personal protection device out of a popsicle stick.
 
So ask your children questions, be prepared with loving facts, try and hide your shock when they're really honest about what they're hearing, and even though they can encounter some big, dumb jerks do your best to raise empathetic kids who confront differing views with empathy and not scorched-earth enmity.

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