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Table for One: Should a 9-Year-Old Decide Now to be Red or Blue?

It's as scandalous as it can be in the suburbs. And with politics, it's especially true.

My ever inquisitive daughter asked me this weekend, "Mom, who are you going to vote for for President?"

I already knew where this conversation was headed. Call it mother's intuition.

Back in 2008, I felt strongly about taking Amara to the polls. As a kindergartener, it was Amara's first election experience, albeit making her tardy for school. The day - no matter the outcome - was guaranteed to be monumental.

Some in the family expressed it was unnecessary for me to take her to the polls. They believed she was too young for politics. They rather her be in class learning about shapes, cutting, and pasting. But I felt teaching Amara about government and current events was just as important as reading Dr. Seuss. (In case you're wondering, Amara was marked penalized for being late to school that day. The district apparently believed in denying my daughter a chance to be a part of history.)

Oooooh politics. Yes, it's a touchy subject. But I believe kids are more aware of their surroundings then we give them credit for. Even today, Amara may not completely comprehend our complex electoral process, but it's inevitable she will watch these events unfold in the next 57 days.

Yet, I was unprepared for Amara's question. I know my political views, as well as the often differing views of Dad2Amara, could forever shape Amara's opinion on political issues. I wanted to remain as unbiased as possible so I wanted to thread lightly. I want Amara to develop her own viewpoint. And yes, I am proud she will not be an apathetic citizen.

I explained to Amara voting is a right, but as citizens, we must be responsible with that vote. I expressed my opinion that all voters are expected to be well-informed, researching candidates and issues, before casting their ballots. And I affirmed how our rule of being respectful of others is as relevant as ever during an election year - even if you disagree with someone's vote, she must be open to their opinion and act civilly.

That was it.

I stayed silent, even though I am confident I know for whom I will be voting. I didn't even hint at it to my nine-year-old daughter. I want her to grow to be her own person, having her own opinion.

Classless and disrespectful as it may be, I can't control how others - red or blue - behave. But I am able to speak to Amara about issues facing our country. I can shield her from political rhetoric in the media until she is of an age where she can fully interpret it herself.

But I can encourage my daughter to be an active and engaged member of society. I can help Amara understand current events affecting our country.

So please, don't ask my daughter to decide just yet. She has four...I mean nine more years.

As always, if you see a Mom sitting alone at a restaurant or in the library, it’s likely me. Come say hello.

 

Do you give both sides of a political issue when talking to your children? Did you try to instill your political views on your children at a young age? What age is appropriate for children to learn about government?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Dave Cunix September 10, 2012 at 02:29 PM
I took my children to see Bill Clinton at Burke the day before the 1992 elections. They both knew where I stood on issues and candidates. I don't think that we have backed the same candidates now that they are adults. That isn't a problem. I wanted them to form their own opinions and make their own choices. My goal was for them to see the importance of being involved and to set a good example.
Janet A. Dowling September 10, 2012 at 04:25 PM
I think the most important thing is to teach them all about the process and it's importance, they have plenty of time to make up their minds when the time comes to vote.
Debbie S. September 11, 2012 at 02:15 AM
I have taken my kids with me to the polls for years. It DOES instill in them a sense of the importance of the process and a curiosity to learn more. It also makes voting something they are growing up WANTING to do! However, telling them for whom I am casting a vote is a different matter. I remember quite clearly how shocked I was when I asked my parents for whom they were voting and their answer was, "It's private." They went on to explain that one of the great benefits of our country was the ability to vote for the candidate of your choice - and NOT reveal your vote. That stayed with me and though I know now who my parents chose and where they stand, I learned a valuable lesson from their refusal to reveal their vote at the time.
tom m September 11, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Hi Debbie remember this one ..... Debbie S. 9:40 pm on Saturday, May 5, 2012 I wasn't commenting on your response. I am commenting on the fact that you have been posting for weeks using only the user name "tom m" which violates Patch terms of service requiring use of your actual first and last name. Thanks in advance for correcting this oversight on your part.
Debbie S. September 11, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Patch quietly changed their TOS many weeks ago, tom m, as I am sure you are aware. Neither full names nor actual names are now required. So...do you have any cogent points to make relevant to the topic at hand?
James Thomas September 11, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Dear Ms. Wagner, One thing I can tell you is that, if you want to encourage responsible civic participation in your daughter, you have done precisely and exactly the right thing. You have demonstrated in an even-handed way the value of voting. My mother did what you have done and I have not missed an election since I cast my first ballot in 1976. I did this with my children and they are both responsible voters. KUDOS to you.
James Murphy September 11, 2012 at 02:57 PM
wow thats too funny good catch I remember Debbie S_______ now she was the TOS police
Kent4Life September 11, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Please do not teach them the 2 party system....It is not about red or blue! Its about who is RIGHT! or Wrong, and if RED and BLUE are BOTH WRONG neither should get your vote. I think you are right by discussing these things please also make them aware of this being a Divider, which keeps us from working together as a whole to create the future we want, and our children deserve. So much more could be done if Rep. and Dems. could stop the pissing contest and just DO THERE JOB!!!!!
jiim may September 12, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Lol. If your teaching your kids, tell them the truth, it doesnt matter whos in office. The president is a puppet being controlled by wallstreet and other wealthy scum that dont give a darn what happens to anyone except themselves. Just remember your kids are all morons!!!!
Jeff September 12, 2012 at 11:31 AM
I agree, but would probably take my kids to the polls AFTER school, so they wouldn't have to miss out on their "learning about shapes, cutting, and pasting"
Monina Wagner September 12, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Dave, what an incredible opportunity for your children. Regardless of my stance on issues and/or candidates, I want my daughter to experience both sides. I totally agree with you - it's the civic involvement that's important.
Monina Wagner September 12, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Debbie, I wish other members of my daughter's family would feel the same way. I do not like thinking she is being blanketed into their political affiliations.
Monina Wagner September 12, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Thank you, James.
Monina Wagner September 12, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Jeff, I can appreciate curriculum in our schools. But because of the responsibilities at my previous job, I could only vote in the morning. So it was choosing to have her miss out on a historical event or have her miss a half hour of school. I chose the latter. Not the choice others would have made but it was the right decision for us.
jiim may September 12, 2012 at 02:49 PM
You made the wrong decision!!!!!!!!
jiim may September 13, 2012 at 11:12 AM
So you broke the law to do what you want!!! Great parental skills.
Traci Monroe September 13, 2012 at 11:41 AM
What law did she break, kids are late for school everyday for a variety of reasons!!
I.M. Wright September 13, 2012 at 12:06 PM
For someone who writes like they didn't make it out of junior high, you should probably hold off on calling ANYONE a moron, Beavis. Also, you should probably take a remedial English course and learn the proper uses of "you're"/"your" (and spare me the excuses; losers make excuses). Also, ALL of Washington is controlled by Wall Street. That includes Congress.
I.M. Wright September 13, 2012 at 12:07 PM
What law was broken, Beavis? Oh, that's right -- NONE. And don't cite for me anything regarding "truancy" because it'll just further cement your "dumb" status, while inching yourself closer to "stupid" status.
Tim Torrence September 13, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Uh no Mr. Wright the child was with her parent for a valid reason as determined by the parent. Truancy laws do not apply. If your statement was correct then you must advocate the prosecution of any parent who takes their child out of school for chemotherapy treatments too. Anything else you would like to know?
jiim may September 14, 2012 at 03:35 AM
I have to say after i get done lol, its pretty funny to get all of you-re panties twisted. Lol. I can feel everyones bood pressure shooting through the roof. All i have to do is go againt the original conversation and use incorrect grammer ( like i did using you-Re instead of your). So, I guess my friend who is an instructor at case said " I love stiring the pot. So, to im wright thanks for the good laugh. Lol
jiim may September 14, 2012 at 11:01 AM
@ im wright, it really sounds like you wear a very large size of panties.
James Thomas September 14, 2012 at 03:50 PM
kETTLE MEET POT!!! I.M (Not.) Wright "For someone who writes like they didn't make it out of junior high, you should probably hold off on calling ANYONE a moron, Beavis." Do YOU Listen to Yourself?
Dave D September 14, 2012 at 04:31 PM
All this bickering aside, taking a 5 year old to the polls doesn't seem to me to have any value for the child. I have nearly one dozen members of my family, (kids and grandkids) that I have been very involved with. I understand the need to feel you are affecting your child in a profound way, but a monumental day in an average child's life would not be going to a poll to watch anyone vote. At that age it is important for them to complete some task that THEY get excited about. Politics has went to level that I do not want my little ones to have any contact with until they are emotionally mature enough to understand that lying to people is considered necessary. Most of this process, is against everything we try to teach our kids.
James Thomas September 14, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Dave D., You absolutely must take your young children to the polls to illustrate exactly what you need them to understand. You are the emotionally mature adult. Where you are you want them to be. They may not get there if someone responsible and loving does not lead them.
jiim may September 15, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Dave, i totally agree with you,. James are you serious, even 20 year olds are so immature that they should not even be allowed to drive. All the little kidd need to know the chucky cheese is alive and well. Let them be kids. Most adults are to stupid to realize that everyone of the worthless politicians lie. Just remember the president is a puppet. Wallstreet and wealth tell him what to say, when to say it, and where to be and when to be there.

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