Six Steps to Curtail the Trump Effect Before It Harms Our Children Further
We’ve worked so hard to emphasize kindness and understanding while pointing out the dangers of bullying and a feeling of superiority. It’s hard to understand why any American would act out those vicious feelings in public with no feeling of remorse. If you’ve watched even a couple of seconds of Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential campaign, there’s no need to say more. His actions are far beyond acceptable and fail to support the environment we want our children to hope for, work towards, and believe in. Now that he is the President-Elect things may only get worse. I have heard many reports of people who are becoming more embolden in their bigotry and hate.
School-aged children are picking up on the aggressive, threatening language that is so much a part of Trump’s litany. Parents, teachers, and religious leaders emphasize the importance of staying within prescribed boundaries that demonstrate a welcome feeling and encourage the desire to get along. The nonprofit organization Southern Poverty Law Center recently asked educators to respond to survey questions about The Donald’s impact on teaching tolerance.
The Republican presidential candidate isn’t encouraging people to get along and work towards a common goal of success and respect. Instead, his disrespectful way of mocking people gives the impression it’s okay to exude hostility to the point of ripping asunder the progress made in America’s melting pot of citizens. It’s far different from the positive examples given by the Democrat presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.
Six specific steps will help teachers, parents, and other Americans stop the reaction to the flood of hatred and threats Donald Trump is using to scare kids and adults.
Defuse the Power Trip
The best way to help students recognize Trump as a bully is to go over the telltale signs of an aggressive bully, such as:
- Make negative statements about others.
- Impulsive and belligerent.
- Gets angry quickly.
- Doesn’t care about hurting others, whether it’s physically, emotionally, or both.
- Has trouble following rules.
- Strong desire to dominate.
Aggressive bullies are motivated by power. Defuse the Trump Effect by encouraging kids to decide which actions deserve respect and which do not fall in the description of leadership.
Ask Kids About Their Goals
Just several months of campaigning has reminded many adults of how quickly rights and respect can be destroyed. Knowing that actions like being fired or persecuted without recourse are possible and fully within Trump’s platform is scary. We’ve seen it or perhaps experienced during our lifetime. Talk over things besides Trump’s threats about deportation and using weapons of mass destruction. Instead of letting fear and uncertainty dash kids’ confidence, focus on goals and dreams. Similarities in expectations about ability and hopes help boys and girls recognize that the influential adults in their lives haven’t given up yet.
Presidential debates were once used as examples of respect and courtesy between qualified candidates seeking the same objective. Parents and educators in 2016 prefer their children to ignore the ribald escapades of Trump. His standard of behavior, like that of many bullies, could adversely influence younger children. As responsible adults, it is up to us to refrain from excusing Trump’s behavior. Justifying his actions is exactly what he wants and not the message our youth should hear. Hillary Clinton supports affordable education that results in better jobs, offering hope. While she may not have won the election we need to keep her values alive.
Review the Importance of Acceptance
Is it any surprise that students are repeating Trump’s views against various religions, immigrants, and minorities (including women)? Bullying is increasing in schools, fed by his callous disregard for people over whom he feels superior and his talent for finding scapegoats. Continue teaching the value of acceptance and respect for different cultures. Explain why it’s important to find the actual causes of a situation instead of placing the blame on people who may not be able to defend themselves.
Establish Why Getting Along Supports American Values
Students of various ages are threatening other students with deportation or using derogatory names they’ve heard Donald Trump use during his political statements. Harassment devours the American dream of equality and opportunity. Emphasize the importance of achieving common goals to keep our nation strong. Trump is living proof that “anyone can be President” or at least run for the office. Our nation’s youth will recognize the importance of a leader who supports American values if we define and live those values ourselves.
Teach About Great Leaders
Talk about what makes a great leader. Even very young children have formed an opinion about why they follow the lead of another child or adult. Hillary has discussed The Trump Effect, an increase in fear because of Trump’s threats that attack so many. Teachers, parents and other concerned parties are worried about the ramifications of the man’s actions. While we may have lost the 2016 Election we cannot lose our souls and compassion. Everyone needs to come together and stand up against the aggression and bullying that the Republican campaign stands for and work towards the 2020 Election and electing someone who truly cares.