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Tweens and Politics

by Ronald A. Rowe | September 13th, 2012 | Tweens

The Tween years often mark the beginning of an interest in politics. Unfortunately, for many children that means simply parroting and embellishing upon what they have heard from their parents. We all want to pass on our opinions and perspectives to our children but we should also want them to learn to use their minds and form their own world view.

An eleven-year-old student recently told me that President Obama is the worst president in the history of the United States and he should be impeached. That’s fine if that is what he really believes. But upon questioning, the boy could not give any supporting reasons for his assertions other than “He’s just terrible.” That’s a child who has taken on his parents’ opinions before learning to apply any independent judgment.

To be fair, I’m sure that his parents did not actually say anything as extreme as “Obama is the worst president in the history of the United States and he should be impeached.” But I am equally sure that they have consistently made negative comments about the president, probably often when they thought the child wasn’t paying attention. (Isn’t it amazing how much our children pick up from our conversations when they’re in the next room playing Wii but they still can’t hear us when we’re standing directly in front of them telling them to take out the trash?)

Please don’t misunderstand. This is not a political piece. For political discourse, please visit our sister site, Camp Campaign. You’ll find plenty of arguments for and against President Obama there. My point remains the same no matter your ideological bent. It is simply that we need to responsibly lead our children into the realm of the political. It is important that we take the time to explain the issues and the candidates and the nature of the political parties to our children as they grow and develop an interest.

Don’t be afraid that if you explain both sides your child will take the stance opposite yours. Most often your Tween will gravitate to your way of thinking, either by their nature or through your subliminal bias. And if they don’t you can take great pride in their advanced level of independent thinking – and then immediately begin a campaign to win them over to the “correct” side of the political divide.

(White House photo of Kayla Wayman)

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