Living Columns & Blogs

Election season provides teachable moments for kids

One of my colleagues recently shared his hesitancy to let his 9-year old daughter be exposed to national news anymore, especially given the very candid way media outlets have chosen to publicly expose our presidential candidates. He, like many parents, has had to answer questions as to who our candidates are, and how they are portrayed. Election time can be an excellent opportunity for parents and children to engage in the political process together, providing a “teachable moment” when we can provide our kids with the environment and guidance necessary.


▪ Informally discuss the current hot topics with your child before she watches them being played out on television by politicians or journalists.

▪ Make an event of listening to politicians express their opinions of current issues and events. Sharing a bowl of popcorn and beverages can go a long way in making it a more relaxing and family centered activity.

▪ Show your kids and teens that you value their concerns about the state of our nation, and about our political leaders. Let them know you want them to think for themselves and form their own opinions.

▪ Challenge them to support their opinions with facts and reasons. Try to refrain from voicing your own opinions before they have a chance to share their own viewpoints.

The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides monthly Action Ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents. For more information, or to join local conversations, contact David Eggebeen at, Robert Orndorff at, Mick Trombley at, Chris Dufour at, Mark Oleynik at, Doug Loviscky at or Marc McCann at