Barack Obama,Florida Memorial University,Hillary Clinton

How parents can help disappointed kids cope with the Trump win

November 10, 2016
in Kids

A young girl listens to President Obama speak at a Clinton-Kaine campaign rally at Florida Memorial University in Miami, October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque The night of the election, Mary Laura Philpott and her 10-year-old daughter danced to “The Schuyler Sisters” from the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” a song about three strong sisters who depend on their brains, not their looks, to succeed in their patriarchal world. It was a perfect fit for a night both assumed they would be celebrating the first female president. So when Philpott had to wake her daughter in the morning and tell her the news, she hesitated in front of her daughter’s bedroom door. “To me, it feels like what this taps into is the most primal parenting fear. I can’t protect you from everything,” Philpott, a writer in Nashville, said on her way to work. “I tried and I can’t do it. It’s the darkest sphere in parenting. That bad things happen we can’t protect them from. And that’s how I felt standing outside her room, thinking we did everything we could and we couldn’t make it happen.” For many parents who had supported Hillary Clinton, this was a familiar scene the day after the election. Girls who had gone with mothers and fathers as they tried to elect the first female president were shocked to hear the news when they woke. Children who were scared by the harsh comments and chants from Trump followers were full of questions. And parents were at a loss to explain why the election turned out the way it did. Long after Tuesday-night bedtimes, when the results were rapidly leaning toward a President Trump, the texts, tweets, calls and emails from parents started: “How will we explain this to our children?” “How will I explain this to my daughter?” “The only thing you can do is be a little tiny shining light,” Philpott and her husband told their disappointed and fearful kids. “All the things that we thought and believed in yesterday, we still think and believe in today. It’s not like our brain voted for Trump. It’s not like we suddenly don’t believe our feelings. So we just need to act in accordance with what we believe.” Braden Bell, a middle school theater teacher in Nashville, spent the morning after the election with his two teen sons. He reminded them to be empathetic to other kids, no matter whom they supported. And he made special note of the girls who might be feeling extra discouraged. “We talked yesterday about how this election could be potentially very exciting for their peers who are girls. So I tried to pull that back in today and said there might be another layer for friends who are girls who may have received this election very differently,” he said. “I...

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