We’re a full year from the next presidential election, but does anyone else feel like it’s already in full swing? I know. Too soon.
As a former public policy analyst who cares deeply about both policy issues and family relationships, I’m going to try to walk the fine line between the two today. In fact, while political races—and hot-button issues and divisive rhetoric heat up—I’m even going to risk being a little blunt: Parents, the sky is not falling. Yes, there are very real issues out there in the world. But a major study (that I’ll describe below) recently revealed the fact that our catastrophizing about those issues is actually hurting our kids.
We all know societal challenges are real. And some people are absolutely called to address them and fight for change. But it turns out: how we discuss, work, and engage for societal change is incredibly important for our kids’ mental health—and our own.
The research demonstrated that every time we jump to the worst conclusions about the current state of the country or its political leadership (no matter what side of the aisle we’re on), and we vent our views, we add to the stress our kids are carrying. We also increase our own risk of greater anxiety and depression.
I have spent hundreds of hours talking to tweens, teenagers, and young adults for books like For Parents Only and for my blog. Wherever you are in your parenting journey, these three action steps will help you equip your kids to maneuver this ever-changing world with greater confidence and hope. And they may just help you as well.