Child Psychiatrist: How To Talk To Kids About Trump Executive Order On Travel

February 7, 2017
in Kids

closemore COMMENTARY In child psychiatry, providing guidance on controversial issues is nothing new. There’s the routine stuff: screen time, and birth control, and curfews, and how much homework is maybe too much. There are also the tough ones. The Twin Towers came down. The Boston Marathon was bombed. Take your pick: school shootings, natural disasters, wars, pandemics. We have social turmoil and misbehaving adults, and political vitriol that would warrant academic expulsion and punishment were the same behaviors enacted at school or at home. These are the events that bring parents to my office, and we are asked again and again to provide our talking points. This one is different. Everyone agrees that a school shooting is traumatic or that a pandemic is scary. But I worry that some readers might feel that simply by writing this article I will be foisting on them a specific political view disguised as therapeutic advice. That is not my intention and I want to make that clear. These guidelines are important no matter where you stand on this issue. We all want our children to grow up to be civil. That’s what’s at stake as we craft our responses as parents to these contentious and trying times. With all of that in mind, here are some general guidelines I'd like to propose. I’d welcome readers’ thoughts on the six points below. We’re all raising these children together. 1. Temper the vitriol of your political views when your children are around. This is as relevant for this issue as it will be for all the other divisive topics that are barreling toward us. Whichever newscaster you shout at, or whichever newspaper you angrily throw down on the table, with every sarcastic tweet that you retweet or indignant video that you post on Facebook, remember this: All those actions will serve to fuel that very same dynamite that is blasting away at the already weakened foundations of our capacity to be civil. Colloquially speaking, I worry that we’re starting to drive our children crazy. We don’t need to share all of our political hand-wringing with our kids. It’s...

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