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Dealing with Strong Election Emotions


“I feel very strongly about the presidential election,” wrote Lillian, age 10. “My friends feel the candidates I dislike should be president,” she added in the News-O-Matic News Room. “I don’t know what I’m feeling or how to control it. Help!”

Lillian isn’t alone. “I am very much into politics,” wrote Hope. “I am only 11, but I know what I’m talking about,” she added. “My mom and dad are from different parties, and I do not know who to like. Please help!”

Lots of kids (and grown-ups) have strong feelings about this election. You may hear people arguing about the candidates — sometimes loudly. You may even disagree with your friends. This can be upsetting. Election Day is on November 8. We must find a way to stay cool and in control.

Dr. Phyllis Ohr is a child psychologist for News-O-Matic. She has ideas to help.


1. Say How You Feel

If your friends or family members seem angry at each other, tell them how you feel about it. Explain that you are getting upset because of their disagreement. Most likely, they don’t realize that they are being hurtful to you.

Ask parents to explain their views in a respectful way and without name-calling. You can suggest that there are certain times of the day when political talk is not allowed, such as mealtime or bedtime.


2. Agree to Disagree

Explain to your friends that you can “agree to disagree.” This may not be easy, but imagine all the fun you and your friends have together. Accept that you and your friends may think differently about a candidate. Find something that you do agree about — even if it’s not the election. Then just do the things together that you enjoy!


3. Write It Down

There are other ways to help with strong feelings about political disagreements. You can write down your thoughts and keep them private. Put them in a special box. A week later you might not be so upset and you can take your “upsetting thoughts” out of the box. Then you can share them or just throw them out.

There are many opinions about what makes a good leader. Just remember that each candidate has the same goal: to make America a safe, wonderful place to live.


By Russell Kahn

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