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Challenge: Raising Kind Kids

Teaching Kids Kindness During an Election

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If you go to any park or preschool, one of the first things you will hear an adult say is, "Say nice things." We're taught that from the time we can spit out or very first word. Parents forever threaten punishment for the child, regardless of the age, who speaks mean to another person. It's just something we've been taught not to do. So when you sit down with your child, and it doesn't matter what channel you are watching, and an election ad comes on where the candidate bashes the other, how do you justify to them that this is how we pick our leader?

It's a very frustrating time for me--election time. I get sick listening to grown men and women call each other names and spend their campaign money telling us why the other guy is bad. What ever happened to telling people why you're right for the job and not why your opponent is bad because they are a (insert derogatory slam here.)

Children pick their own leaders. They learn by example. They spend their time with the people that make them feel good about themselves. Having our leaders give them permission to tear someone down is just negating what we as parents try to instill. It gives them the wrong message. It tells them that if someone doesn't like your ideas, it's okay to be mean to them instead of negotiating a solution.

My children are older, and they understand the process of an election. We can have discussions about what a candidate brings to the table. And isn't it funny, they don't care for the criticizing either? They are equally as disgusted with the candidates (regardless of what election it is.) I guess maybe I got my point across to them early enough, that no matter who you are, it's still not okay. But, then again, I would guess that the parents of the candidates probably told them that too. So at what age do we give up on our children and let them tear someone down to build themselves up? The answer is clearly never. They will always be my children and I their parent. They won't hear me do it, so I will forever hold them to that standard, even if they run for President of the United States or PTA President.

Bernadette MarieBernadette Marie is the mother of 5 sons (11,12,12,16,17), a bestselling author, publisher, speaker, event planner, blogger, CEO of 2 companies, and a 2nd degree blackbelt. Often asked how she manages a family of seven, she offers up her advice on home, school, travel, and so much more. Her philosophy is that parenthood is never perfect, but the bumps along the way are what make the best memories.

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