Besides having to live through a pandemic where their lives have been turned upside down, children and teenagers today are having to live with our government in chaos. Many parents may think that their children and teenagers do not pay attention to the news, but they do. As a child and adolescent psychotherapist, I hear children as young as 7 talking about politics and worrying about what is happening in the world. They have access to the information via their phones, the internet and what they hear friends talking about. Remember this generation has easy access to information via their internet connections and they use these connections.
Children are very aware of what happened in the United States Capital this week and they are concerned for their safety. They are afraid that President Trump will do something else to cause chaos. They are very afraid that he will start a war. They worry about are their parents safe going to work. Given what happened this week, can you blame them?
Also what are we teaching children and teenagers about following the rules and treating people with dignity. Trump refuses to accept that he lost the election and he has been verbally attacking anyone who disagrees with him. His behavior finally could not be ignored anymore and he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. However, his behavior had to become outrageous before anyone acted. So we are teaching teenagers that if you can intimidate people so they do what you want it’s ok?
This week he seek a band of protesters to the U.S. Capital with the goal of stopping the Congress from counting the Electoral votes. He is seen on television telling his supporters that they must be forceful. What message does this send to the children of our nation? Five people were killed by Trump’s protesters and many were injured. President Trump acts like he has no responsibility for what happened to this people. Politicians are debating should they take action or not because they are afraid that Trump may do something more outrageous. Do we want our children to learn the way to lead is through fear and intimidation and having temper tantrums. We need to address children’s concerns and educate them that how the President is acting is inappropriate and we do not want them to see him as a role model. If we don’t, how can you tell teenagers not to bully others? You can’t because according to Trump’s actions it’s acceptable to do what ever you need to in order to get your way.
This week has been very upsetting and confusing for the Country and our children. I have included a link to an article which provides some ideas about how to talk to your children about this week. I hope you read it and find it helpful. Here is the link: 10 tips for talking to your kids about the attack on the US Capitol https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/08/health/talking-kids-capitol-violence-wellness/index.html.
Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist who specializes in treating children and teenagers. He has over 20 years experience treating children and teenagers. For more information regarding Dr. Rubino’s work visit his website at www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/drrubino3 or his podcasts on Spotify or Apple.