The Ins and Outs of Politics

Shannon is a 16 year old from Maryland. She enjoys writing, is pro recycling, and loves the Jonas Brothers.

Elections! One of the most exciting and controversial times of the year. Voting day is right around the corner and with the campaigning in full swing, I thought I’d write about how parents can help keep their teens interested and informed about politics.

One Needs a General Understanding from Y-O-U

You as parents have an incredible amount of influence over our worldly views and opinions. Politics definitely falls under that category. We gain our first knowledge of the system, the candidates, and the “issues” from our parents. The information we recieve helps us form our own political views and opinions, which is why it is extremely important for parents to take the time to teach us. One suggestion is using politics as a discussion topic for the dinner table. It a great place for parents to express their political views and ask us about ours.

The Newspaper is your Friend

I love love love reading the newspaper. It’s my favorite part of the school day. At lunch I speed over to the library, choose the sections that I want to read, and settle down at a quiet table. First I read everything that was great enough to make it above the fold, and then I delicately open it and continue reading whatever interests me. I think the newspaper is a great source of politic knowledge. Everyday they have new updates about what’s happening on the campaign trail and the lastest news about the candidates and conventions. Reading it as often as possible is one of the best way to stay informed about current events.

The Nightly News

Most teens having a pretty serious television addiction. One of the most common ways to relax after a long day at school is to plop down and unwind by watching your favorite shows. Some teens might even keep to a schedule and tune into certain shows on a daily or weekly basis. That said, the news is a great addition to your daily dose of TV. It’s yet another easy source of political information. They are constantly reporting any type of new found info about the candidates, their political stances, and the race in general. The viewers at home always get the inside scoop, and the best part is, the same news comes on three or four different channels at different times! That way you can sit down to watch it whenever is most convient for you.

Good Manners

This is more of a reminder about how to properly address politics when you’re discussing it with other people. Political views are a very personal subject and if approached in the incorrect manner, discussion can turn into heated argument.

I thought I’d add some reminders, just as a refresher:

Remember that everyone is entitled to and allow to express their own opinion—that’s part of what makes this country so great. So telling someone they’re wrong is never a good idea.

A person’s political views and opinions is very personal and private, so asking them questions like “Who’d you vote for?” or “Are you republican or democratic?” may comes off as rude and intrusive.

Rock the Vote

If you can vote, do it. It’s one of the most important and powerful rights you can ever have. It is ridiculous how many people, young and old, refuse to vote because they don’t feel like it. They don’t want to take the time to register or wait in the long line that always snakes around the outside of wherever the process is being held. Unfortunately, these are some of the same people who complain bitterly about the outcome after the election is over. Casting your vote, voicing your opinion—when you have the power to influence to outcome of the election, the power to make a difference, you should most definitely use it.

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