WASHINGTON — Now that the midterm election is over, the nation — including our kids — is watching how both sides will move forward from a bruising fight.
Parenting blogger Leslie Morgan Steiner of ModernMom.com says this moment — or rather how voters and politicians celebrate their victories and recover from their losses — could be an important lesson for kids on graciously winning and losing.
“It was, and is, a good opportunity to teach your kids about being a good sport; being a good winner and a good loser; being gracious about victory and defeat,” Steiner told WTOP. “It’s not so easy when politicians themselves are not setting the best examples.”
While it may have been difficult to escape the harsh rhetoric around and leading up to the midterm election, Steiner says parents themselves can use this moment to set good examples and teach their kids about the importance of participating in politics.
“You’ve got to watch your own behavior,” Steiner said. “It’s wonderful to be passionate … I want kids to be involved and one of the ways they get involved is to watch their parents be involved. But remember that kids listen more closely to us as parents than they do to politicians. So set a good example.”
Even if your kids are still years away from voting, the lessons they learn from family and politicians can teach them about competition in their everyday-lives, Steiner said.
“Politics is a lot like sports,” Steiner said. “It’s one of the most competitive things that we do in this country … remind them that it’s not fun to lose, but don’t rub it in. Just like if they win or lose on the soccer field or whatever field, [teach them] to be gracious to their friends, to find unity and to find that in your own family.”
Steiner says this moment can also serve as a springboard for teaching kids about the bigger picture of politics and maybe even getting them interested in their school’s elections.
“I think that the most important thing actually is for parents to talk to their kids about politics and politicians and why this matters and give them a bigger perspective,” Steiner said. ” … I think the most important thing actually is to teach your kids to be engaged politically; that their voice actually matters and that it’s not so much about whether their candidate wins or loses, but that they’re involved.”