Donald Trump

Parenting in the era of Donald Trump

December 27, 2016

Photo: Gabrielle Lurie, The Chronicle Parents who brought children to anti-Trump protests, like these two 10-year-olds at a Nov. 13 protest at Lake Merritt in Oakland, are wondering how to talk to their kids now that Donald Trump is president-elect. I over-shared with my children about the presidential election, smugly convinced that our country would never elect a maniac like Donald Trump. Growing up, my family had always talked politics around the dinner table. I remember watching the Carter-Reagan debate with my parents in 1980, when I was 5. Their opinion — that Ronald Reagan would be an unmitigated disaster for the country — was hardly a secret. So why not educate my 5-year-old daughter and her 7-year-old brother, I thought. The short answer is because this was a grossly abnormal election that was in no way appropriate for kids. I failed as a mother to grasp this basic fact. Instead, I freely answered my children’s questions, convinced I was providing lessons in civics, honesty and common decency. It was perfectly fine to explain how awful and frightening Trump was. Because unlike Reagan, Trump could never win. Hillary Clinton’s statement that “a man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons,” played on repeat. When my 7-year-old son asked what it meant, I explained that Trump was so unstable he might start World War III. I even let my kids watch the “Saturday Night Live” spoofs of the debates. Oh, how we laughed! My ex-husband and I had modest plans for election night — a family dinner at a local restaurant — but big expectations. We were going to be together with our son and daughter to celebrate the election of the first female president. We all know how that ended. Now...

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