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Teens and the Election

Teens and Elections: Talk to your teen about formulating their own opinions during an election

For the past few months, no one has been able to escape the barage of political TV ads, emails, Facebook posts, bumper stickers, and street signs. It is the American way!

For the past few months, these ads have opened up many discussions about politicals views and personal beliefs in our household. It wasn't surprising to me when I found out that one of my teens was rooting for a different candidate. In the psycho-social development, the teen years are when your kids try to individuate from you and become their own person. So, of course, forming your own political opinions is part of that process.

At first, I was excited that she was interested in finding out about the different political viewpoints and policies of the presidential candidates. That excitement was quickly squashed when I found out how she was getting most of her information. Was it reputable websites? Forwarded emails with policy breakdowns? Televised debates? Nope. None of the above. Instead, her opinions were being formed by snarky political cartoons, forwarded emails containing foul language making fun of candidates, and hateful TV ads that shed no light on policies but rather made baseless and broad generalizations. Ugh. 

As parents of teens, there are a few important messages to get across during an election whether it is a student body election, mayorial election, or presidential election.

* You have a right to your own viewpoint.

*Find out what each candidate stands for from a RELIABLE source.

*Character bashing gives you little information about policy.

*Respect that others will have differing viewpoints.

*Base your vote/opinion on your own values and views.

*Don't be afraid to speak with others about differing viewpoints, this is what the USA is all about.

Starting at the website of the presidential candidates gives you a good start on finding out about their policies. 

http://www.barackobama.com/issues/

http://www.mittromney.com/JobsPlan

For a very basic guide to the upcoming election, click here:

http://magazines.scholastic.com/Election-2012/breaking-news/2011/12/Guide-to-Election-2012

Don't forget to vote!

-Sheri Gazitt

Teen Wise

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.

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