We know that things are changing fast and he hasn’t even taken office yet. So the question on a lot of our minds is: How do we protect our kids? How do we prepare them as best we can for what lies ahead? For those of us who want to take a more proactive stance, here are seven ways to prepare your children for what’s ahead in a Trump presidency.
Give Service/Support Causes/ Volunteer
During this time of great uncertainty, it’s easy to get bogged down with what-ifs.
“Now is a good time to focus outside of yourself,” says psychologist Dr. Kristin Carothers of the Child Mind Institute. She suggests parents and kids look for causes and organizations to support, as well as places that they can volunteer.”
Now more than ever, it’s important that we get closer to our kids, so asking them questions, listening, and encouraging them to ask us questions is going to be key. It’s also very important that we validate their feelings. “One of the first ways to help kids (and adults) feel they can handle uncertainty is by having people who understand their fears around them,” says psychologist Dr. Isaiah Pickens. “So ask your kids what is making them feel stressed and let them know you understand how they can feel that way.”
Keep Them Out Of Politics
While Trump’s Cabinet picks fall shorter than an Oscar Mayer wiener, and his dealings with Russia are shady at best, our kids don’t need to know about it. Dr. Kristin Carothers advises that we keep kids out of the news and focused on their day-to-day. So refrain from making the KKK and ISIS dinner table conversation, and please don’t do like that substitute teacher in L.A. who told her students their parents would be deported.
Trump is causing us to clearly define our values. Are we about love or hate? Miles Regis, dad of a 10-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son says, “Because of a few instances that have occurred at my kids’ school, the N-word was written on a bathroom wall the day after the election and some kids were running through the hallways chanting, ‘Make America Great!,’ they understand that the current climate has allowed for many to feel free to express their hate. We stress at all times that we as a family are about embracing the good in people and understanding that love, kindness, empathy and compassion are traits that are important for us.”
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If you’ve never considered homeschooling your child, now might be a good time to start. For Crystal Blake, an African-American mom who pulled her 10-year-old daughter out of a public school and has been homeschooling her for the past three years, it is especially important for African-Americans: “Everything starts with identity. If you’re sitting in a classroom learning about everyone else’s identity before your own, you can be told who you are and who you’re not. Homeschooling allows you to break away from the system and shines the light on you.”
Unschooling is also becoming popular and essentially says that you can’t tell me what and how to teach my child. In other words, stay out my business.
No Pre-emptive Conversations
“Unless you’re planning to go to a rally or watch something in the news, refrain from preemptive conversations,” advises Dr. Kristin Carothers. “If kids see something that confuses them, talk to them about it. Let them know that some people react negatively when they are angry and everyone has their own opinion.”
Our kids need us right now, so it’s important to be optimistic about the future. Let kids know that no matter what’s going on, they can win.