‘How do I explain this to my children?’: US parents struggle to talk about Trump victory with kids
In the two days since Republican nominee Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential election, the country is responding in various ways. Some have taken to the streets, while others, emboldened by Trump’s win, have resorted to attacking the communities most affected by the election results, according to reports from across the country.
With the news of President Trump, parents are also tasked with the duty of explaining what a Trump administration means to their children. Individuals have written about this on various platforms, and Van Jones spoke about the issue immediately following Trump’s win.
On Tuesday night, Jones said on CNN, “It’s hard to be a parent tonight for a lot of us. You tell your kids, ‘Don’t be a bully.’ You tell your kids, ‘Don’t be a bigot.’ You tell your kids, ‘Do your homework and be prepared.’ Then you have this outcome and you have people putting children to bed tonight, and they’re afraid of breakfast. They’re afraid of, ‘how do I explain this to my children?'”
Parents are concerned about how to explain this to their children, when it comes to being a member of the LGBTQ community, when having to explain consent to their sons, when explaining what it means to be a person of color in this country at this time.
Hey, America: How exactly do you plan on explaining a Trump victory to you kids, your daughters? #ElectionNight
— Rob Fields (@robfields) November 9, 2016
Really feeling for parents rn. On a good day idk how to talk to kids. I can’t even imagine explaining Trump. — Khaleesi Sydney (@sydneyschwab1) November 9, 2016
Hardest thing today was explaining the election result to 7 yr and 9 yr old boys. We think Trump’s dangerous. But you have to reassure kids.
— Paul Convery (@Paul_Convery) November 9, 2016
Here’s what some parents have written about for various outlets since Trump’s win:
Cheryl Reid-Simons wrote for Fusion the difficulty of being a gay parent and having to explain Trump to your child. “Watching Donald Trump win the election turned [my son] back into what he really is: A hurt, frightened, and very sad child,” Reid-Simons wrote.
Reid-Simons continued to explain the importance of resuming life, “I told him it wouldn’t get easier to go to school and resume life until he went to school and resumed life. I told him we had to stop wallowing and keep living.”
Dena Landon wondered in an article for Salon how she would teach her son about consent. Landon wrote that as she prepared to head to work on Wednesday after the election, she wondered, “How [would I] be able to hold it together, [and] … How am I going to teach my son about consent now?”
Many have had similar reactions, especially as the United States just elected a president who has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by at least ten women.
“Our country just elected a man who speaks about women’s bodies in degrading terms and with the utmost entitlement. How will I teach my son to respect those bodies?” Landon questioned. “Our country just upheld straight, white male privilege, a privilege my son will enjoy by default as he grows up as (all signs point to) a straight, white male.”
Mira Jacob wrote for BuzzFeed, a “letter to my brown son about Trump’s America.” Jacob wrote, “Over the last week, you would ask me questions at bedtime and I would answer them, kiss you goodnight, and go to the bathroom to sit alone and shake.”
“If Trump doesn’t like boys who look like me, does that mean the government won’t like me? The army? What about the police?” her son would ask.
“In the coming days, weeks, months, and years, some people will try to tell you this election was like any other, the same way they will try, when you are older, to tell you your experience of living in your own skin is ‘all in your head.'” Jacob wrote to her son. “This is nonsense. You will see me having no patience for this.”
Many parents are grappling with how to explain the country electing Trump. Here are a few more links where parents work through the same question.