Many of us are searching for the right words to help our children understand last night’s election results. Luckily for me, my best friend since the 6th grade, Aracely Gonzalez, is a Psychiatric Social Worker at LAUSD, who works with children and students on a daily basis. We tag teamed to create these talking points for adults to help guide children through this confusing time.
For better or worse, there was a real emotional connection to this election. We have to honor that we had all feelings about this election. What many of us are feeling right now is absolute grief. During this time, it is important to talk about how we feel so we don’t sit and wallow in that grief.
These are tips and talking points for communicating with children, especially children of immigrants.
These are key tips for adults and educators:
- We have to guide their fears.
- Dialogue is going to be very important. Dedicate time to talk to children and young people about what is happening.
- Allow children and young people to voice what’s on their mind.
- It has to be a dialogue. We have to listen to their own interpretation of what’s going on. It is important that we honor their own perception and thoughts.
- Prepare for questions like: How could a bully, racist and man who treats women badly get elected? Why does everyone hate Hillary? What is so bad about what he says? What will happen to my parents if they’re undocumented?
Talking Points for Educators about the Presidential Election
- This country is very unique and there is no other that has an election system like ours. It’s called American democracy. When individuals cast their vote, they are making their own choice for who they want as president.
- Our national system is a bit confusing- Hillary Clinton won the most number of votes called “the popular vote” but Trump won the Presidency because he won key states with the “electoral votes.” This election is for 4 years.
- You might be feeling scared, angry, numb, or all of these feelings.
- I know you’ve heard lots of scary things that may happen with Mr. Trump as president. But you are surrounded by people who love you and will protect you. And remember, there are lots of people like you and me who believe in kindness, love and supporting their neighbors.
- Fear is natural. Many of us fear things we don’t understand or what we do not know. And it is important that we admit or acknowledge our fears.
- There are some things that we may not understand right now. Some of us may be afraid that someone we love may be deported or our families separated. And the truth is that we don’t know if that will happen. We do know that it will not happen today or tomorrow.
- Hope and Love are also natural. Hope for a better future and real love for our families is what fueled many parents and immigrants to come to the United States. It has been that way for over 200 years. The US is a nation of immigrants starting with the immigrants from Europe who landed near Plymouth Rock and includes many of us whose families who are immigrants from Mexico and Latin America.
- We are Americans too. This is our country too.
- As families and school families, we are in this together. We will work through this and survive with real love and hope for a better tomorrow.
- You are filled with courage, love, kindness and a big heart. You’ll never be alone and many people care about you and families like us. Tomorrow will be a new day and with it comes lots of possibilities.
- Think of something that you can do for yourself.
- Or in times that you are feeling scared, sad or upset, what is something that you are going to take care of yourself?
We are in this together. You are loved and protected.
Alma V. Marquez
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