Voters cast their ballots at Oakdale Elementary School in Frederick, Md., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.
Image: AP Photo/Jon Elswick

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.

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.

“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.”

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.”

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.”

BONUS: Mixed reaction after Trump is elected U.S. president

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