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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

How to have The Talk (about Trump) with your kids

September 16, 2016

You don't like me? Get the hell outta here!

You don’t like me? Get the hell outta here!

Sweetie, I want to talk to you about the election. Please don’t roll your eyes. I know your dad and I watch a lot of political news coverage. The first Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is on September 26th and we’ll be glued to the TV for that, too. (And to the other two Presidential debates and for the Vice Presidential debate, too.) No worries, we’ll be ordering out for pizza on those days.

It may seem like we are obsessed with what’s going on in this campaign. That’s pretty close to the truth. Elections are very important. Presidential elections are especially important.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are running for President of the United States. That may be the most important job in the whole world. Part of the job is knowing how to treat people with respect.

Our responsibility as American citizens is to inform ourselves about the issues and where each candidate stands on those issues. We have to learn as much as we can about the kind of person each candidate is. We do all of this so we will feel confident when it is time to vote on November 8th, that we are making the best choice for our country. When you are eighteen, this responsibility will be yours as well.

You’ve heard me muttering at the TV when Donald Trump is on the screen. Maybe even cursing a few times. Just to put your mind at ease, I really do know that he can’t hear me. Not that he’d listen if he could, but that’s beside the point. No, actually, that may be a large part of the point I want to make. Donald Trump is a man who doesn’t listen to anyone who’s not telling him how wonderful he is.  Remember that assembly you had a school about bullying? Remember how you learned that put-downs are not OK. That’s the #1 rule for how to treat people. Donald Trump is very rich and he likes to tell people that he has a “very large brain.” Even if that were true, it doesn’t mean he is better than anyone else. It doesn’t mean the rules of how to treat people don’t apply to him.

Donald Trump doesn’t care about the rules. He has repeatedly put-down, insulted, cursed at, mocked, demeaned, and threatened people. That includes women, African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, immigrants, LGBT people, his Republican opponents, as well as Hillary Clinton, journalists, judges, our President, our generals, our allies, just to name a few.

As you can see, there are a lot of people Donald Trump doesn’t seem to like and he believes he has the right to disrespect anyone at any time.

Of course nobody likes everybody. There are kids in your class you say you like and some that you don’t. That’s normal. But you know, in our family, we do our best to always treat people with respect. We’ve taught you that if you don’t like or agree with someone, you have the right to keep your distance, but you do not ever have the right to be rude or disrespectful.

What’s that you ask? Why is Donald Trump so rude to so many people? I honestly don’t know. But if you asked him, he’d probably say you got it all wrong. He’d deny he said any of the things he actually said. He’d blame what you heard on “crooked” reporters (That’s his way of calling someone a liar.). He’d say that Hillary Clinton is the one who’s rude and disrespectful. He’d insist that he actually loves all of those people and they all love him.

When Donald Trump insults someone then turns around and says, “I never said that” it can be very confusing. But as voters we have to work through the confusion. Dad and I have done that. Here’s what we’ve discovered: Donald Trump says whatever he wants to get whatever he wants whether it’s true or not. Whether it is hurtful or not. It doesn’t matter to him. He’s fine with put-downs.

That’s not fine with us.

In case you’re wondering, your Dad and I will not be voting for Donald Trump. We’re voting for Hillary Clinton.





  1. Excellent. So well-reasoned. Thanks! Sharing.

    Comment by Roxie Munro — September 16, 2016 @ 4:29 pm

  2. Thanks for your kind words, Roxie. I appreciate that.

    Comment by Annie — September 16, 2016 @ 4:31 pm

  3. I LOVE THIS!!!!! Thank you.

    Sheesh. The guy is crazy. I’m so glad you are calling a spade a spade, and pointing out how awful he is for the kids of the world (never mind the rest of us)…

    Comment by Deborah Owen — September 18, 2016 @ 8:16 pm

  4. Thanks for weighing in, Deborah. This one seems to have hit a chord with a lot of parents.

    Comment by Annie — September 19, 2016 @ 4:02 pm

  5. Here in Australia, we have compulsory voting so our kids engage in the electoral process so much earlier because they have to start voting when they turn 18. We have our own share of weird and wacky politicians, but the thought that America might actually elect Donald Trump seems ludicrous. Yet, he’s the Republican nominee. A lot of clever people seem to think his way of thinking is acceptable…

    Comment by Rachel — September 20, 2016 @ 9:56 pm

  6. Hi Rachel, Compulsory voting makes a lot of sense to me. With kids engaged in the electoral process at an early age, they grow up recognizing that democracy works best when we use our vote as our voice. Typically, here in the States, the turn-out of eligible voters is under 60 percent. Embarrassing when we think how loudly (and how often) people complain about their elected officials and yet they are not motivated to vote for change. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

    On the other hand, we also have elected Republican officials who have, through their power in state legislatures, systematically worked for suppressing the vote amongst groups (people of color) who are likely to vote against them. Deplorable tactics that can turn folks cynical to the whole process.

    Comment by Annie — September 21, 2016 @ 8:35 am

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