CLEVELAND — Politics can be confusing for adults to grasp. But what about kids?
3News’ Maureen Kyle wanted to find out how to approach the subject with your children amid this intense political climate. She spoke with Dr. Felipe Amunategui, a psychiatrist at University Hospitals.
“It is impossible for kids to not notice what's happening,” Maureen said. “How do we start to approach politics and explain it to our children?”
Dr. Amunategui said it’s all about respect at the end of the day.
“Part of being an active participant in a representative democracy starts by teaching our kids how important it is to disagree with people's ideas, while respecting those that we disagree with.”
He said it can be particularly hard for children to understand this concept when they see adults arguing because of differing political views. Parents can help explain this with some pretty basic groundwork.
”When the exchange gets really heated, it's really important to start by talking about the fact that these persons look like they may be angry with one another. But what really is happening is they're having intense and very passionate differences.”
The doctor also stresses that sometimes the real message can get lost in these types of arguments.
“The message that I think is sometimes lost, because we're so passionate about what we believe, is that other people also have the same passion around their beliefs, right? But that does not make them an enemy.”
Another thing to remember is to take your child's age into account. For young children, talking to them in a broader sense can be helpful.
Kids can start to grasp more difficult topics earlier than you might think. Dr. Amunategui, even at about the age of seven or eight, said kids can have a pretty strong grasp of what's happening.
As they get older, your children will start to form their own opinions, which may differ from yours. In addition to teaching the importance of respecting other's opinions, it's also important to also listen to what your children have to say.
"Helping our children appreciate that awesomeness comes from being different and being able to appreciate and exist with people who are different -- that's a message that starts early on," Dr. Amunategui said.