As the results of the 2016 presidential election unfolded and it became clear Donald Trump would be elected president, many who supported Hillary Clinton openly wondered how they would talk to their kids about the results.
Parents across the country took their children with them to the polls on Tuesday, sharing a historic election with them and posting their joy at participating across social media.
But, by Tuesday night, those feelings of joy had turned to despair. Van Jones on CNN expressed the sentiment eloquently when he said, “It’s hard to be a parent tonight. You tell your kids don’t be a bigot … And then you have this outcome.”
But many others took to social media to express their dismay and to ponder how they would break the news.
I have to explain this to my kids in the morning. And for at least 4 years thereafter.
Blackius Maximus (@BlackiusMaximus) November 9, 2016
How do you explain to children the fact that this man won a presidential election? Awful
St3f@n!3 (@trueblonde27) November 9, 2016
Dr. Andrea M. Macari, Associate Professor of Psychology at Suffolk County Community College and Clinical Psychologist, toldMashablethat parents should use this election as an opportunity to instill the importance of activismin their children.
I have 4 kids! They are all freaking out! I have no idea how to explain a Trump presidency!
Andy- Hillary 2016 (@andym67) November 9, 2016
“Find what’s important to your family and give them an outlet to have their voices heard,” Dr. Macari said. “Use Hillary Clinton as an example of how to beresilienteven after a setback. Even if you fail, you don’t have to be finished fighting for what you believe to be true. When we lose, all hope is not lost. These are important lessons for children and parents to remember.”
Heartbroken trying to explain the election results to my kids. Tired, but staying up until Hillary speaks or the campaign makes a statement.
Manton Reece (@manton2) November 9, 2016
I have no idea how I’m going to explain to my kids in the future how we let Donald Trump be president…
Javier Velez (@Jdonovan_10) November 9, 2016
Dr. Macari also stressed parents’ behavior as a key way to set a good example moving forward from the election. “As parents, we need to continue to be good role models for our children. It’s important to demonstrate kindness and inclusion in our community even if we feel our elected leaders aren’t,” she said.
“It iseven more important now that our childrenhave prosocial role models in their home to emulate.”
How do you explain to your kids that Trump was elected? Feels like Voldemort won
Lorna Sixsmith (@IrishFarmerette) November 9, 2016
Real talk. If anyone has advice on how to explain this news to my children, please let me know. They still believe Presidents are heroes.
Bobby Hundreds (@bobbyhundreds) November 9, 2016
And, beyond that, she says, it’s also important to “reframe the election for our children so that they don’t see get caught up in the winning or losing aspect of the campaign, but instead as living up to the core values that are important to them.”
“Providing specific ways that they can carry on their own community oriented missions will help to alleviate a sense of helplessness and foster lifelong civic engagement.”