And You Thought You Were Worried…

Early on Wednesday morning I was DEFINITELY going to write a post on the US 2016 Presidential election.

Then I lost my appetite for blogging.  I lost my appetite for social media.  I lost my appetite for news in general.

My dismay, disappointment and, dare I say, disgust turning into denial (yes I know Mindfulness is about trying to be non-judgemental and I am trying hard not to play the ‘blame game’ that I talked about in my previous post).   But the people of America had just just elected a misogynist and bigot to the White House and I, like many was finding that very hard to digest.

Later when I had calmed down I would start to try and empathise with the fact that some people felt they had no choice but to vote for Donald Trump and also that some people’s hatred of the Clintons was so strong that anyone was better than that ‘dynasty’ back in government.  Anyway,  I was not ready for rationalising these thoughts yet – all I could do was label my emotions as sadness, disillusionment and anger.

And then I had the privilege of working with some pre-teens about ‘unworrying’ and they gave me the impetus to blog again.  It was during this session that I realised that if I thought the impact of the election was great on me, then this was nothing compared to the impact it had had on some of the most impressionable members of our society as I was reminded of what happened as my 6 year old son observed my reaction to the news on Wednesday morning.  I was immediately greeted by a series of pertinent questions.  One  was:

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Putting my own concerns to one side and trying my best to empathise with my child I realised I needed to be extremely mindful of how I answered this question.  Yes, I was feeling anxious – wondering what this meant for the world, wondering how this could happen, wondering what this indicated about mankind.  And yet it did not seem fair to communicate all of this to my eldest.  I owed him honesty.  But I also owed him protection.  Protection from the worries of the adult world he did not inhabit yet.

Anyway, I digress, back to the lesson on ‘unworrying’.  Part of the discussion centred around the question of ‘what do people your age worry about?’.  Yes, there was talk of friendships and school tests (see my post about how we can help our children with exam anxiety here) but I was extremely surprised by the responses about the current situation in the USA.  This being an extremely impressionable age, the children had clearly picked up on a lot of conversations at home but not always fully understood the situation.  This therefore was clearly a dangerous combination with regard to young people’s well-being.  They understood that the adults around them had been shocked and disheartened by Trump becoming President Elect but had ‘filled in the gaps’ about why the grown-ups were worried.  And so the question that I got from them was:

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I had not been prepared for this.  It gave me a powerful insight into the impact we can have on our children’s emotional state without realising.  There were genuine concerns from many in the cohort that war was likely after the recent events in America.  Part of the ‘unworrying’ session was about introducing the mantra ‘thoughts are not facts’ to the children (see my post here about this important statement) and this hopefully helped immensely, but still it was a ‘wake up call’ for me about just how much of the ‘adult world’ our youngsters take in.

So, what can we all take away from this?  If we come into contact with children who are of an age where they can understand some aspects of the news (the headlines and the drama)  but maybe don’t fully comprehend the whole story than surely it is wise to be mindful of what news they are exposed to and what reassurances we can give them about what this means for them.

Yes, the reality of President Trump is devastating to many but we must not let this be mirrored by those who are too young to fully understand.

At least we may take some solace from the fact that “the history books won’t count millennials among the coalition that put president-elect Donald Trump into office, as most younger voters came out for Clinton” (from an online Bloomberg article you can read in full here) and maybe this can help us celebrate the tolerance and liberalism of the youth of America when talking to our own children about the events from this week.

How have people in your household reacted to the news of President Elect Trump?

Have the younger members of the family offered any opinions or asked any searching questions?

Diary of an imperfect mum
Twin Mummy and Daddy
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Diary of An Imperfect Mum

 

24 Comments

  1. Kate Orson
    November 11, 2016 / 2:45 pm

    This is such an interesting and wise post. i think it’s a good idea not to expose young children to the news unless they get exposed to it accidentally. There’s a lot of fear mongering on both sides. I think Obama’s point about not wanting someone as quick to anger as Trump being able to push the nuclear button was so obviously a fear tactic to get people to vote Clinton.
    I think the question of third world war, is an interesting one, as there is a ‘silent’ war going on all the time anyway, one that doesn’t effect us in the west and one that would have continued under Clinton. Lots of people were worried about her causing a war too.
    I’m trying to see the gift in this situation, that although Trump is awful, perhaps it’s kind of a wake-up call, to have real change in the long run, real positive healing, and a true evolution of society. Somewhere I read something about Trump being the shadow side of our society and at least now it’s out of the open, we can truely examine it and get rid of it. We need to come together and support all those targeted by horrible racism and misogyny. I think your point about empathising with the Trump supporters and seeing that they had a reason for voting for him, and over time to find a better way for us all.

    • November 11, 2016 / 11:15 pm

      Thanks Kate for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and interesting response to the post. Your point about a ‘silent war’ is a very good one, as is the ‘alternative thinking’ that allude to. I think the comment about having the ‘shadowy side’ of society out in the open and so now we can really try to heal things is a really good one. Let’s hope, over time different sections of society will live much more harmoniously together. xx

  2. November 11, 2016 / 3:53 pm

    I found this so interesting to read as I was working with a group of 11 year olds who came into school very agitated and concerned. My question to them was – Why are you so worried? How will this directly effect you? They had obviously been influenced by parents but didn’t fully understand. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

    • November 11, 2016 / 11:11 pm

      And thank you as ever for your comment. Yes, it is this age group who seem a little lost with it all. Good questions for them so you could have a meaningful and valuable discussion. They are lucky to have you. xx

      • November 14, 2016 / 7:39 am

        Ah what a lovely thing to say! I think parents definitely need to be more aware about how their conversations and feelings are affecting their kids. Popping back to say thank you for linking up to #EatSleepBlogRT too 🌟

  3. November 11, 2016 / 6:20 pm

    We were pretty shocked by the reaction, my twelve year old was gobsmacked having learned a lot about it in school. Saying that, he was more interested in Trumps hair style than anything else, and the fact that Trump was a hilarious name! #thatfridaylinky

    • November 11, 2016 / 11:10 pm

      Ah yes they are both pretty funny! Thanks for commenting.

  4. November 11, 2016 / 11:44 pm

    What a lovely, thoughtful and immensely mindful post as always. Not being a US citizen, I am one of those immigrants being talked about and so I have a number of my own fears and concerns. I have tried really hard not to EVER comment on anything even remotely political but I am only human and thoughts slides into words and emotions. Although personally things are getting better, I was an emotional wreck the day after even though I could totally say that at least I had NOTHING to do with the outcome, not being able to vote and all.
    What you bring up, the questions you raise, the ones your kids raise, are so, so valid. I feel absolutely grateful that my kids are not old enough to know what happened or ask me questions I have to worry about answering. Worrying, I will have to do that though, because we are ALL somehow accountable or at least feel that way, for what happened. I have a lot more to say about this but I am going to keep it at this, for now. OR maybe until I actually become a citizen (ironic that I still want that citizenship, huh!) #ablogginggoodtime

    • November 12, 2016 / 8:46 am

      Thanks so much Suchitra for sharing your personal thoughts and experiences when it is obviously still so raw for you. I’m so pleased your kids are young enough to stay in blissful ignorance…. good luck with getting citizenship (I think ;-)) xx

  5. November 12, 2016 / 4:17 pm

    I never considered such a heartbreaking fear could be circulating in children’s minds. I already worry that my 4-year-old hears us talk about things that are grown-up worries. I know I will be more mindful of what he hears from now on xx #fortheloveofblog

  6. aliduke79hotmailcom
    November 12, 2016 / 8:47 pm

    I think it goes to show how hard everyone is finding this result to digest. My 11 year old daughter doesn’t think it is a good thing. We need to talk to our children to try and reassure them that thing will be ok (we hope).
    #fortheloveofBLOG

  7. November 13, 2016 / 2:31 am

    It really is surprising how Much they can pick up on. I try to avoid the news on telly because it’s usually so negative and fear mongering #fortheloveofblog

  8. diynige
    November 13, 2016 / 9:09 pm

    A fascinating post and very interesting to read unfortunately it’s done a democratic vote Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

    • November 13, 2016 / 10:56 pm

      Thanks for commenting and hosting the linky 🙂

  9. November 14, 2016 / 10:38 am

    We are trying so hard to stay strong and be brave for our girls, but we are scared to death. We are a two-mommy family and Mr. T has vowed to eradicate us from our equality in marraige. Our friends of color are so frightened, with good reason. My only hope going forward is that he proves me wrong and makes some good out of this mess. Please let me be wrong. #EatSleepBlogRT

    • November 14, 2016 / 2:58 pm

      I very much hope he is not the person we think he is (and he has made out he is). I’m so sorry this affects you so personally. Lots of love and thank you for commenting. xx

  10. November 14, 2016 / 7:46 pm

    #eatsleepblogrt I too lost my appetite for anything global, let alone blogging. I also agree that in times of fear it is not our job to pass that on to the next generation. Fab post x

    • November 14, 2016 / 8:20 pm

      Thank you lovely – yes we must be so careful with the younger ones – they don’t deserve to be troubled as we are… xx

  11. November 14, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    It’s a tricky age – as you say, lots of young people will be picking up on the mood of the adults in their life. I think it’s important to try and discuss things with children, once they are old enough to ask questions or pick up on things, but obviously you have to try and use appropriate language and not project your own fears onto them. I do think a lot of people are worried about war now…it’s an unsettling time. I’m quite glad my little guy is so small, but I do worry about the world we’ve brought him into. #ablogginggoodtime

    • November 14, 2016 / 10:19 pm

      Yes we must try and balance being honest and open with our youth with not projecting the fears of adults on to them… so tricky as you say. Thanks so much for coming back to register your comment – much appreciated x

  12. November 14, 2016 / 9:24 pm

    My teenager was very involved in discussions about this. Some days I can take comfort in knowing that my 10 year old (has learning disabilities) is completely unaware of such things.

    • November 14, 2016 / 10:17 pm

      I can understand where you’re coming from. Thanks for commenting. x

  13. November 18, 2016 / 4:38 pm

    This is a great thought provoking post, and Donald Trump winning the election not only has an impact on us but it has filtered down to our children, and they are at an age where they are starting to understand. God help it when my daughters starts to understand political things. I was worried at the time, less so now that time has moved on a little. We can only hope that it will be ok, and I’m sure it will (I hope). Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    • November 19, 2016 / 9:49 am

      Thanks so much commenting – it’s so unclear what the future holds but hopefully good will win through. xx

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