Donald Trump is a Threat to Our Kids

I’ve recognized for some time now that our celebrity-obsessed nation has completely lost its collective mind. Our fundamental values have been hijacked by the likes of Lindsey Lohan, Snooki, Bristol Palin, Charlie Sheen, The Real Housewives of Wherever … and on and on. Guilty, right here. I find Bethenny Ever After strangely fascinating, like the car wreck you can’t look away from.

But the most offensive, the most destructive, the most outrageous of these pop icon posers who has now insinuated himself into public life in the most cynical way is the king of the comb-over, star of phony reality show, hate-monger and … really? … presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

This guy who’s greatest accomplishment is making tons of money under shady circumstances wants us to believe he’s running for president. This circus clown who’s added a few seconds to his 15 minutes of fame by giving the phrase, “You’re Fired”, new meaning thinks we’re stupid enough to buy the salacious nonsense he’s selling and hire him. The question is — are we?

This post has nothing directly to do with keeping our kids’ bodies healthy or parenting them effectively, it has everything to do with protecting the world they will grow up in and leaving a legacy we’re not ashamed of. Because it won’t matter a whit if we feed them more nutritious food or teach them good manners and resilience, but lose our moral compass and allow the purveyors of fear and racism to turn our country into a land that is unrecognizable.

FACT: There is a small, but very loud minority who woke up the morning after the last presidential election horrified to find a black man (or more accurately, a man of mixed race) moving into the White House. These folks still haven’t recovered, and they spend lots of time looking for ways to spread their bitter slime.

FACT: Attention seekers and publicity whores like The Donald will do anything to grab media attention, even if it means hitching their wagon to the ugliest garbage out there.

FACT: These bottom feeders provide irresistible material for the media charged with filling hours of cable TV and web content. This week in the news … Osama Bin Laden brought to justice and Donald Trump demands to see President Obama’s high school transcript. WHAT??

Our kids swim in a sea of this stuff and absorb it whether we like it or not. Soon it becomes an expected and acceptable part of the landscape. We talk about it and it gains credibility. I’ll bet if you give your school-aged kiddos a current list of presidential hopefuls the only one they’ve heard of is Trump. And I’ll bet they know all about the birth certificate fairy tale.

How are we supposed to teach our kids respect for American democracy when this lunatic is treated like he’s a viable contender? When those who fill our airwaves pay rapt attention to the stream of pollution that spews from his mouth? Turn on the “news” and you’re sure to get an earful about his so-called campaign. There’s no avoiding it.

So what do we do? How do we inoculate our youngest against this junk?

I sure don’t have the answers, and I think it’s unlikely we will rewind and toss Jersey Shore and Teen Moms, or come to our senses and start ignoring The Donald, but here’s what we all can do: TALK and keep talking.

Watch TV with your kids. The good, the bad and the ugly. Be there when they see and hear the stuff you’d rather they didn’t, because they’re going to see and hear it anyway. You can explain and give it context if you’re with them, but you can’t if you’re not.

Ask lots of questions. “What do you think about that? Does that make sense to you? What kind of person does he/she seem like? What do you like/dislike about that?”

Make sure you share what you think and talk about how it fits with your family’s values. Don’t be shy. The jury is in: parents are the biggest influence on kids’ most basic beliefs. Bigger than peers, bigger than TV, bigger than the internet, bigger than anything.

Step up and stake your claim. In spite of the moaning and eye rolling they’re integrating what you say into their world view, I promise. You will reap the benefits.

I can’t tell you how many times mine come out with statements that make Husband and I glance at each other and silently say … “Wow, they really were listening!”

They should be listening to you, not the trash talkers.

 

 

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Rachel Zahn, MD is a pediatrician turned health writer who had three kids during medical school and pediatric training—crazy, huh?


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One response to “Donald Trump is a Threat to Our Kids”

  1. Hazel M. Wheeler

    Right on Rachel! I’ve been pondering this over the last few days, Trump’s idea of running for office boggles the intelligent mind (as do many other facets of the public and political news of the day). All we can do is just what you said: combat this kind of nonsense on its own turf by talking with our kids and asking questions which help us all to think a little more clearly– beyond the rumors. When we gently challenge their assumptions with good questions, when we teach them to look further than the headlines, we raise children who will continue to seek information for themselves later on in life. That’s a win, in my book.

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