In this rapidly-changing political climate, it is becoming increasingly important that we teach our children about current issues related to our government. Some might claim that this is a controversial set of topics to talk to our kids about; in reality, taking the time to educate your children about these matters with age-appropriate content does not come without great reward. This post will examine eight advantages of engaging your kids in current political events.
1- It Encourages Voting
The chances are that your children already notice when elections are about to occur due to the abundance of radio and television advertisements, bumper stickers, and conversation from adults regarding the upcoming events. This is a great opportunity to teach the youngest members of your family about the process of voting, the candidates, and why participating in elections in important. Talking about the significance of voting from a young age can also encourage them to vote in the future.
2- It Teaches the Art of Debating
Louder with Crowder said, “Talking to your children about politics demonstrates that it is okay to hold beliefs that differ from others and the importance of doing so in a respectful manner.” When your kids witness political events live or in person, be sure to praise the candidates that speak to each other without contempt, and remind them that it is important to hear both sides of the story.
3- It’s an Opportunity to Set the Record Straight
It’s likely that your children are already talking about politics anyway; bumper stickers, television commercials, and adult conversation concerning the government are prevalent in society. Being the case, you should view this as a valid reason to help your kids sort through fact and fiction, debunk myths, explain what news sources are the most reputable, and become more politically literate.
4- It Informs Kids About Social Injustice
Engaging in political conversations with your children will ultimately lead to topics regarding various social issues, which are sensitive but necessary subjects. Speak to your kids about politics as they relate to problems of racial inequality, sexism, poverty, and classism. Doing so can help your children understand how certain aspects of government can either help or hinder these matters and can contribute to an interest in tearing down the walls that divide us as a nation.
5- It Minimizes Fear
When you teach your children the facts surrounding stressful political issues, and subsequently context for these issues appears. Having a broader understanding of certain topics can make them seem less upsetting to an apprehensive child. In addition to reducing a child’s anxiety surrounding current political and civic matters, talking about them opens an honest dialogue between children and their parents and trust ensues.
6- It Teaches Compassion and Altruism
An awareness of how certain aspects of government and law can affect others is a particularly important piece of information for children to possess. Children will learn that politics don’t just affect them, it affects other people as well. Children may also learn to be grateful upon discovering that others are in many ways less fortunate than themselves.
7- It Examines Freedom of Speech vs. Diplomacy
Freedom of speech is something that people in our nation cherish, and children should be informed that this is not something that people in all regions may get to experience. However, it should be noted that while freedom of speech is important, it should not be viewed as more valuable than being politeness, compassion, and diplomacy. Opening children to the nature of politics can provide them with some insight into when and where certain topics are appropriate to discuss and teach them a lesson of civility.
8- It Promotes Participation in Community Activism
Last but not least, educating your children can spark an interest in participation in political, civil, and social activism. Consider taking your young ones to museums that display the history of their community, to buildings with historical relevance, or to government administration offices so that they can get an idea of how past and current participation has helped shape society. Many children find great satisfaction in becoming a productive member of society by participating in peaceful political rallies, environmental efforts, opportunities to feed the homeless.
These are but a few of the ways children will greatly benefit from becoming educated about current political issues.