Election Day!

It's never to early to engage your tween in the political process, and today represents an opportunity to bring her into the family discussion about democracy, voting and what to make of all that she's likely to hear about politicians around the schoolyard. Regardless of your political views or affiliation, opening up a thoughtful discussion with your tween or teen promotes critical thinking and can also help clear up any confusion that might arise when kids are exposed to the endless media coverage of the election process.

Austin Family Magazine has a great article in their recent issue about how to engage "Pint-size politicos" in the political process in ways that can encourage them to become thoughtful and engaged citizens. While it may be tempting to promote your own political beliefs to your tweens & teens, it's most helpful to create an open dialogue with them so they feel safe sorting through their own developing ideas about how the world works. As with most conversations with your adolescent, the more you can promote an open and engaged dialogue around hot-button topics, the more likely you are to have a tween who actually talks to you!

Let us all remember to use Election Day as a chance to promote our shared values of respect, acceptance and treating others as we wish to be treated. If our teens take those lessons away from today, we've all done our civic duty.