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Whether your preferred candidate won or lost, Ken Haller, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University and pediatrician at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, says you can use this time to teach your child about how democracy works and how to be a responsible citizen. Dr. Haller offers these tips:

If your candidate lost:
• Ask your children how they feel about the outcome of the election. It may not even be on their radar. If they are upset, though, try to get to the root of their anxiety. Are they afraid of something they heard on a negative commercial or picking up on your disappointment? By asking them about their feelings, you can address their concerns directly.
• While it may be difficult to hide your disappointment, it’s important to put the loss into perspective for your children. Explain that while you may not agree on some issues, the winning candidate is a good person and will be a good leader.
• Use examples from your children’s lives to explain how democracy and majority rule work. Talk about the importance of compromises and how to solve conflicts without fighting.
• Set a good example. Do not argue with others about the outcome or act disrespectfully toward the winner or his or her supporters. 

If your candidate won:
• Teach your child to be a gracious winner by modeling appropriate behavior.
• Stress to your children the importance of respecting other people and their ideas.

In any case, civic involvement does not have to end with the election. Look for causes that are important to your family and get involved.


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