Barn, politik och känslor

Children, politics and feelings

“Why should I listen to them at all if they can lie as much as they want?!” exclaims my 12-year-old, clearly irritated, in the middle of a hearing by the party leaders, aimed at children.

We have listened to some of the party leaders together and talked a bit about how it is easy to only say good things in hearings like this - it is a bit like advertising and you can agree with them on (almost) everything. In any case, nothing they say sounds completely useless. But children (now I am addressing those who have passed the toddler years) see more than these organized debates. They hear adults talking about the political "circus" (where the craziness replaces each other..), they see clips on social media and pick up on how completely idiotic and unreliable adults can behave. Politics for the children I think is a blissful mixture of false advertising and crazy tricks? In addition, this phenomenon is quite new - partly the way the political debate looks today and partly how quickly information (correct or incorrect) reaches us.

This must create a lot of anxiety in many children? Concerns that we who are adults and have children today cannot necessarily relate to because when we were small politics was something else..? I really have zero answers to this - the circus worries me too so I can't pretend it's always healthy behavior - what we see.

But some thoughts. The first is that, as is well known, knowledge is power. By (at the age-appropriate level) talking about partly what the parties stand for (if the child shows interest in it) and partly talking about how the politicians choose to present themselves - and why. (Can you (as a politician) lie? Do you have to do everything you've been told?) So much information passes through children's brains today, so I think they have an edge here - they quickly see through things that we blindly believed (someone had said that it was so…)

Pretending to paint the craziness probably has no function (if age permits)? The world looks the way it does - think about it together and talk about the fact that it is crooked in many ways and that it can feel unsettling for both young and old. But also mention that it may look different. That politics can change the world for the better. Don't let a number of fools or a time in history define what politics is. Talk talk talk (if you notice the need exists) and let the conversations lead to the possibility of change (at least it gives me a sense of control and hope!)