Create the family you want to have

Parent Affirmation Monday- Respect- 10/15/2012

Right-Wing Republicans vs. Corporate Democrats...

Right-Wing Republicans vs. Corporate Democrats vs. Progressive Populists (Photo credit:

Written by, Kate Oliver, MSW, LCSW-C

As we continue the election season in the United States, it seems easier and easier to get caught up in the polarity between candidates, especially regarding their moral values and beliefs about who should do what, where, when and why. We hear arguments about religious and moral beliefs, personal freedom and equality. We are reminded from candidates on both sides that our vote is a vote for our own value system even though I am sure many of us have values that do not always align 100% with either candidate.

One opportunity our election system gives us is to model for our children the ideas of individual freedom, respect and personal self-expression. With all the discussion about bullying in schools, we have the opportunity at home to show children how to disagree with someone, their politics, their moral stance, their opinion about a particular candidate, while refraining from making sweeping statements about everyone on either sides personal characteristics.

I had an opportunity to do this in my own family this week. We talk about politics a lot and keep our children informed of events as they unfold as well as discuss with them our particular point of view on the topics at hand. The other day, my youngest daughter referred to people who support one of the candidates in the upcoming election as “stupid.” It gave me a chance to really check my own internal talk about people with a different point of view than mine. It is so easy to say that people supporting the “other” candidate, whatever that means in your house, are wrong, misinformed, “stupid,” especially when there are particularly important issues being worked out.

In my state, in addition to the presidential election we are voting on issues like the Dream Act, marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, and whether to expand gambling casinos. While I am not always quiet in my posts about my opinions on these subjects and where they come from, I hope for you and for my children, that I have always been respectful. When my daughter called supporters of our “other” candidate stupid, I was quick to remind her that while she may not agree with their thoughts on the issues, it is important to be mindful that when we make a sweeping statement like that we are often including family members and friends that are essential to our lives. We talked about other statements that would be more accurate such as, “I don’t agree with them.” “Maybe they don’t think about this subject the same way I do.” And “I don’t understand the reasons they think that way and maybe we need to talk about it some more….”

While candidates may not always play along with our sense of right and wrong, or respectful dialogue, we can still model this for our children. And, if someone makes a statement we disagree with strongly, we can direct our disagreement toward them, rather than overgeneralizing. If you agree, please feel free to use the following affirmation:

I am respectful to others and they are respectful to me. I model for my children the ways to disagree in a loving, courteous tone.

What I love about affirmations is that you do not always have to agree with the original statement, for example “they are respectful to me” because as we turn our attention to the possibility of something, we tend to see it more than we did before. Look for the ways in which people are respectful and courteous, especially people who disagree with you. Point it out to your children. Show it to them yourself.

October 15, 2012 - Posted by | affirmations | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Parent Affirmation Monday- Respect- 10/15/2012 ( […]

    Pingback by Parent Affirmation Monday- playful- 10/22/2012 « help4yourfamily | October 22, 2012 | Reply

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