Who Is Responsible for Teaching Our Kids About Politics?

BlogHer Original Post

If I want my sons to have the freedom to choose their own political belief system, shouldn't I then be exposing them to differing beliefs? Maybe I'm mostly annoyed with the way it was phrased. Maybe I'm feeling territorial over my child's learning process. Maybe she was just sharing her truth and didn't intentionally mean to throw me under the bus with her reasoning. Maybe I'm not as open to opposing discussion as I think, though I am able to hold my weight in such conversations; is it fair to assume my nearly seven-year-old should be too? I feel thrown by how a simple conversation has left me to reconsider how I approach this topic. At the very least, considering all of these things is probably not a bad thing, to approach all of this in a mindful, purposeful way. Good job, grandma?

I followed up with our son a few days later.

"Buddy, I know you feel like your candidate is the best for the job, but others, like your YiaYia, are allowed to feel differently. I do want you to know that while you shouldn't point-blank question them on the way they're voting, no one should make you feel like you're wrong for liking whichever candidate or supporting whichever issue you choose. Okay?"

He looked at me, wary that he might be in trouble. I assured him that he wasn't, that I was just trying to teach him how to be respectful of others' beliefs, of other points of view. He thought for a moment, smirked, and said, "This is another one of those lessons, isn't it?"

Indeed.

Maybe, in that sentence right there, my son taught me that he's learning and understanding and making sense of things -- even when the adults around him are just flubbing around, trying to make sense of things themselves. Maybe.

And so I turn to you, BlogHer readers, to ask: How do you feel when grandparents or other family members pass off political opinion on your children? Does it feel different coming from any one member? How do you best handle these drifting lines in the sand?

 

Family/Moms & Events Section Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog and The Chronicles of Munchkin Land.

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