Mommy Minute: How to talk to your child about election stress

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This election season has been particularly contentious. If you’re sick of being bombarded with ads and political discussions, chances are, so are your kids.

Dr. Melissa Brown is a child psychologist at UPMC Pinnacle and says attack ads become an important opportunity for you, as a family, to discuss your core values and your expectations of how others with differing opinions should be treated.

She says when kids take notice of commercials, mailers, or even chatter among friends, you can use that as a chance to teach them a civics lesson about elections and procedures. She says by keeping it educational, you can keep a level head. She also says you should focus on the process rather than a particular candidate.

She says it’s important to recognize that kids can absolutely feel stress over the election, especially if their parents are stressed

“And that’s why it’s always important to role model in front of your kids what you want them to do and say and how you want them to act, because if you’re a raging lunatic and you’re cursing and throwing things and getting really angry about certain situations, particularly this election, then that’s how your kids are going to respond,” Brown said. “Because they’re recognizing this is how I’m supposed to act and this is normal.”

Brown also says that if you realize your child heard you say something that you didn’t mean for them to hear, admit you made a mistake, talk to them about it and remind them of your expectations when it comes to treating others with respect.

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