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Prior to the 2008 presidential election, asked more than 2,000 kids and teens what they thought about the election and how it might affect them.

A whopping 75% of kids and teens answered "yes" when asked whether they thought that the outcome of the election would change their lives. Nearly half of teens surveyed said that they believed they'd had some influence on their parents' choice of candidate.

So, if you think your children are only interested in talking about kids' stuff, think again.

Talk About It

When discussing this election and what is happening, talk about what you believe and why — and ask your kids what they think and feel. This shows that you value their opinions and want to hear what's on their minds.

If their opinions differ from yours, that's OK. Ask why they feel that way? Can they come up with examples to support their view? Engaging kids in this way helps them develop their own opinions and express their ideas.

Keep it positive.

In the heat of an election season, strong feelings about tough issues can spark disagreements. Use the opportunity to show kids how to voice differences of opinion with respect, strength, and conviction. Say what you don't like about a candidate or their position and explain what you like about your candidate of choice. Encourage your kids to do the same.

Be reassuring.

Perhaps kids are worried by what the candidates are saying about diversity, the economy or job market. They might fear the family losing the house or a parent losing a job. Listen to their concerns. If you're facing financial troubles, be honest and then tell your kids (in an age-appropriate way) what you're doing to handle the problem.

Learn much more at

Gordon Clay



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