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Caring for Youth Post-Election

Posted by on Oct 29, 2020 | Comments Off on Caring for Youth Post-Election

Caring for Youth Post-Election

This election has been one more high-stress, anxiety-causing issue during an already stressful 2020. No matter how you vote on the issues or who you vote for, there’s a chance your family and community will deal with additional stress or be with people who will struggle with the results. Additionally, youth tend to be more dialed into the election or your feelings surrounding it than we might think. Help the young people in your family and community manage post-election anxiety with the following tips.

Follow your youth’s lead

If your youth wants to talk about the election, candidates, or specific issues, make time to have a discussion. If they ask you about a topic that you’re not familiar with, take the time to do research on it together. If, however, your youth isn’t interested in talking about it, avoid pressuring them into it. Teens may feel unsure about their feelings or have strong opinions that they’re not ready to share. Let them guide your conversations.

Don’t assume your youth’s feelings

Some issues are especially emotionally charged. You may have strong opinions about certain topics or candidates, but don’t assume that your child’s opinions are the same as yours. They may have experiences or influences that lead to different conclusions. If they want to talk about their opinions, have an open dialogue. Ask questions and listen to understand their point of view.

Provide a safe space

Give your youth a safe space to feel their feelings. Validate their experiences, ask questions, and assure them that you’re open to hearing what they have to say, even if they have different opinions from yours. Having a safe space for youth to be open and feel heard is especially important as we continue living in a world where so many voices and messages are thrown at us daily.

Set boundaries

The time right after the election may bring a rise in tension, and having boundaries will help in creating safe spaces for your youth, especially if family members or friends have opposing views that lead to heated discussions. Consider everyone’s input when creating boundaries, and hold each other accountable if someone crosses them.

Care for yourself

Make a plan to practice some self-care and recharge your batteries. Not only will this help you as an individual, it’ll help put you in a better mindset as you care for your youth. It’s easier to handle discussions about difficult subjects when you’re rested and have a clear mind. Take a walk, do yoga, or schedule a call with a friend before diving into a loaded discussion with your youth.  

Focus on your circle of control

Your circle of control includes all those things that lie within your control, including your attitudes, behaviors, and reactions to what’s going on around you. In an election, there are many things that we have control over, including voting and educating those around us about issues. But there are many more things that we don’t have control over and spending our energy on them can cause even more stress in our lives. For more information on circles of control, check out this blog post.

Manage social media

Make an agreement with your youth to limit social media in the days following the election. Plan to spend time doing engaging activities or watching something uplifting. With so much negativity swirling in the news and online it’s important that we take control of what we view.

Reach out to supports ahead of time

Make a plan now to reach out to your family, friends, or others in the community to decompress after the election. Plan a virtual movie watch party, happy hour, or coffee break. Reach out to friends you haven’t spoken with in a while. Make a plan for finding support, especially if your immediate community is heavily influenced by the outcome of the election.

Do you have other ideas on how to care for yourself or your youth after the election? Share them with us! Email us at info@opheliasplace.net.