PRE-ELECTION SMACK DOWN: Tips for keeping civics civilized

Conversations around the dinner table are heating up and coffee talk with the girls has a political bent these days, so how do we avoid having a smack down over the election?  It isn’t always easy, but here are a few tips from friends with differing opinions on the race:

1. Talk the talk.  Sometimes, you just have to talk about the important issues with the people in your lives that are the most important.  Even if you disagree, there is no one you’ll trust more than someone you love.  So, don’t avoid the hard topics, go at them, just don’t go at it.


2. Keep an open mind and an open ear.  You might not always agree about the topic at hand, but you might learn something that helps inform your own opinion.  Listen and learn.  If you’re talking all the time, you’re not listening.  Sometimes you might even want to concede a point or two to keep it real.


3. Small talk matters.  Sometimes when you try to explain an issue to your kids, it cuts out all the miscellaneous gobbledy-gook, clarifies the point and really gets to the heart of the issue.  Kids keep it pretty basic – they want to understand and they’ll ask a lot of questions until they get a simple answer that satisfies their curiosity – they have an intrinsic sense of fairness and truth.


4.  Start in the middle.  If you and your friend come from different ends of the political spectrum, don’t start the conversation there.  Start in the middle with something you agree on.  Instead of discussing things from the right and left, try talking about them in terms of right and wrong and the lessons you share with your children every day.


5. Point well taken.  When talking politics with people you love, focus less on “winning” and more on explaining your points of view.  Facts are fun.  Try presenting a few facts that support your opinion.  That way you’ll avoid inflaming the discussion or getting mad at each other over “feelings” and maybe you’ll even get your point across?!


6. Agree to disagree.  When someone starts to get a little riled up, take the high ground and stop the discussion.  Simply pour a glass of wine, agree to disagree and make a toast to democracy – where we are all entitled to our own opinion!


Keep talking about the issues MAMAs.  Your opinion influences your kids, your community and your country!

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