How to Talk to Your Child About the Presidency
This is the first in an occasional series that aims to guide parents through conversations with their kids about important but sometimes sensitive topics. The articles in the series will also contain tips for helping parents and their children navigate and determine trustworthiness among thousands of resources on those topics.
In this article, we’ll review some resources and discussion topics to provide you with an idea of how to handle a discussion based on the presidency.
President Obama was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. His father was African American and his mother white, making him the first president with African heritage. His running mate and current vice president is Joe Biden from Delaware. Obama is starting his seventh year as president and has faced several major issues in the country while in office. He became president at the onset of a major recession and in the midst of war in the Middle East. The Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare, was passed within the first two years of his presidency. Obama has recently mentioned several of these issues in his State of the Union Address.
The State of the Union is an annual speech the president of the United States gives to a joint session of Congress. This event is often televised and the president outlines his agenda for the upcoming year. Last week, President Obama delivered his sixth speech in which he discussed several topics. You can watch the 2015 State of the Union address below which uses graphics alongside the speech to give more details on what is being addressed. The video can serve as a tool to provide talking points for you and your child about the presidency as it pertains to current events and issues, such as the economy, international events, and climate. Specifically, affordable child care, relations with Cuba and Russia, conflicts in Iran and Afghanistan, and the future of clean energy.
The SOTU also provides an opportunity to discuss and learn about the majority rule in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Responses to the SOTU can also be used as resources for you and your child. The video below contains the Republican response, where Joni Ernst reviews issues such as the XL pipeline and the future relationship with Iran:
Senator Rand Paul provided his own response in which he discusses having a more responsible Congress with a larger focus on the American economy. Response:
Suggested Discussion Topics and Resources
- Have your child read from different sources and see if they can tell if the source supports or disagrees with the president’s stance, determine any biases the source may have, and the legitimacy of the source as well as whether it’s factual or opinion.
- Take a look at break downs of the speeches using fun statistics while not touching on the points of the speech at all.
- Review unbiased resources of the statements and ‘fact check’ the major claims.
- Use the example President Obama used in his speech about the married couple: Rebecca and Ben. Ask your student what they would do to help the family.
- Ask your student about the pros and cons of each position the president outlines.
- Review President Obama’s interiew with three popular YouTube creators, including one of the Vlog Brothers.
Please indicate any discussion questions or ideas you have for a parent-child discussion on this topic in the comments below.
Peter Spain is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff and a manager at K12. A graduate from George Mason University, Peter has worked for several years in the education and entertainment industry. He strives to make learning fun for children by contributing to the games and activities section of the site, and keeping an eye out for advancements in edutainment.