With all of the big changes and impending changes our nation is facing, its inevitable that our children will come in contact with it in some way, whether its from a teacher, a peer, or overhearing the nightly news. Our children are often more aware of what’s going on around them than we think they are.
So how do we talk about race relations, republican vs. democrat, gender inequality, etc. with our kids? The initial factors to consider are your child’s developmental age and their temperament. How old is your child and what are they capable of hearing and understanding? There are many child experts in this world, but you are the expert on your child. Its also important to make sure you are knowledgeable about the facts of the issues.
Passing down our values and traditions to our children is the cornerstone of any society. So YES, teach your children what your values are about social issues and why those fit for you and your family. Try to leave room to hear their opinions and experiences as well. Try to ask more questions rather than making statements. This gives your child permission to think for themselves; to gather all the information and form a concrete thought and opinion. In our ever changing world, being able to think for yourself is an invaluable skill. You are also opening the lines of communication to continue discussing these issues with your children in the future.
Allow your child to have a differing opinion. They are not necessarily rebelling so much as they are exploring, and the more you as the parent show this is not only okay but encouraged, the more likely your child is to honor your values and opinions. When they become adults, they will have conviction; not because they were told to or because they are doing the opposite of what they were told to, but because they truly believe its the right thing.