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Election Decompression: Helping children understand, navigate the outcomes

No matter what the outcome of the election, there are healthy ways to process personally, and as a family

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — This election season has certainly been full of stress and emotion for many parents, children and families. Now that the election has happened, how can we decompress and help our children understand and navigate the outcomes?

Holistic child psychologist Dr. Nicole Beurkens shares some helpful insights.

Take care of yourself first – This has been a difficult election season, and it’s important to take time to acknowledge your thoughts and feelings about the outcome. Consider your own needs and find ways to support yourself before discussing with your children.

Allow for honest emotions – It’s important to allow children the opportunity to express themselves honestly, without dismissing their feelings or trying to make them feel better immediately. Spend time listening and empathizing, and then discuss the difference between our feelings and how we act on them.

Focus on gratitude – One of the best antidotes to disappointment and hurt is focusing on things we are grateful for. Whether the election outcome brings your family joy or distress, it can be helpful to notice and express appreciation for all the good things in our lives and the world.

Take action on things that matter to your family – While elections are certainly important, the actions we take in our own communities are powerful as well. Work together as a family to engage in a volunteer or community activity that aligns with your values and makes a difference.

For more insights like these, visit Dr. Beurkens' website.

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