My friend told me today that her son had been called a racist at school because he’d told his school friends that his father had voted leave in the EU referendum. Unbelievably, this is at a primary school. Perhaps we should be happy that primary school children are getting political but it is also worrying that children are expressing intolerant views to those who express a different opinion to what they believe.
At another local primary school, the mums have been arguing heatedly on Facebook about the EU referendum to the extent that it has got into a slanging match. In some ways it’s great that people are so involved in political debate but if it gets out of hand, children pick up on it. We all know children will repeat what their parents say.
It isn’t always easy to express strong feelings in a respectful way and that’s probably why they say you should never talk about politics with friends. However, when we talk about politics in front of our children, we should try to be respectful. If we are nasty about people that don’t share our views then children will think they can be like that too. Children need to learn to voice their differences of opinion in a pleasant way without being hurtful.
The EU referendum has sparked passionate differences of opinion and there has been a lot of scaremongering. Our children need to be reassured that whatever problems arise that they can be handled.
It is a good idea to talk about what different people think in a balanced way so that it doesn’t cause divisions.
Top tips for political discussion
- Be respectful
- Present a balanced view
- Encourage your children to do some research
- Talk about the importance of voting
- Be positive and reassuring