31 Oct
What Do I Tell My Kid About Occupy Wall Street?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My 11 year old started asking me questions about the Occupy Wall Street movement and I’m stumped about what to tell him.

It almost makes me miss Pokemon.

Any ideas?

Signed,

PreOccupied

___________________________________

Dear PreOccupied,

Oh, kids today with their questions!   Whatever happened to the good old days when they were seen and not heard?!

Apparently those days are gone forever and now we have to deal with nonsense like inquisitive minds and children wanting to learn.     It’s as though they don’t realize that it’s Project Runway finale week and mommy is busy.

But lucky for you, I just had the Occupy Wall Street discussion with my teenage daughter, so I can write from experience.

I tried to tell her that people were protesting because they were upset by how much she rolls her eyes at me.   Sadly, this was met with more eye rolling.

So I leveled with her.     At 13, my daughter was ready to hear the truth as I understood it– that some people are upset about what they perceive to be economic injustice in our society.

And then a wonderful thing happened.   She asked follow up questions and we had a great conversation about different forms of protest, the rights of the people to express their anger at a given situation and being respectful even at the height of frustration.

No matter what side of the Occupy Wall Street movement you are on, there are definitely many teachable moments to share with your son. And the fact that he is asking questions that will lead to a discussion is a gift.

Let his questions shape the conversation.   Start by saying that you know he has been wondering about Occupy Wall Street– what has he heard about it? He may have seen images on TV that he found upsetting or confusing.   Address that first.

Be sure to reassure him that it is not as scary as when Grandma and Grandpa occupied your guest room that one endless weekend.

Don’t worry about not having all the answers or saying the wrong things.   What is important is that you and   your son are communicating about what is on his mind and that he knows that you are a resource that he can turn to.

Good luck,

Marinka, TMH

6 Responses to “What Do I Tell My Kid About Occupy Wall Street?”

10.31.11#1

Comment by Plano Mom.

Wonderful, wonderful post, perfect advice for any subject.

FreestylinMamma Reply:

I would welcome any opportunity your child wants to discuss anthem subject with you! Trust me, you’ll missbtyese moments when they looked to you for wisdom and guidance once theybhit puberty and “know everything”
I for one would be frank and honest, sit down and tell him “A certain privileged few in this country were very greedy, dishonest and the public has suffered, with no bail outs or sign of relief, while these individuals have been allowed to continue to prosper without any ethical, or lawful borders or consequences in place and the people have had enough!” – this and a couple of episodes of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart should shed some light on this and many other ridiculous goings on in this country today.

10.31.11#2

Comment by rojopaul.

I’m feeling good that my discussion with the 10-year-old today was how Halloween is a pagan holiday and what “trick or treat” really means. In this case, SHE was educating ME, while the 16 YO sister was eye rolling and saying, “WHO CARES?!”. ha ha ha

Seriously, though, I love when these opportunities come up – it’s a chance to talk about protests, democracy and the freedoms we have.

Karin Reply:

haha – I taught my 2nd grade Catholic Religious Ed class that when the Christians came to a new place, people were slow to convert because they still wanted to celebrate the holidays they grew up with – like Mexico’s Day of the Dead which is where we get some of the scary part of American Halloween (the question was how did Halloween get scary since it’s supposed to be preparing to celebrate the Saints) – so they created an alternate holiday around the same time that tied in some of the traditional non-Christian practices but introduced the Christian perspective to the rituals. Hence, All Souls Day to compete with Day of the Dead which got moved to November to compete with Samhain.

I did not, however, move into the Jesus-was-born-in-the-spring-but-we-moved-that-to-compete-with-another-non-Christian-holiday. there’s a fine line, I tiptoe around it!

rojopaul Reply:

Oh, we talked about Jesus in Spring too! ha ha I love it.

11.01.11#3

Comment by sisterfunkhaus.

I think you should be honest-state the purpose and what these protesters believe they are working for. You need to be careful not to interject your opinion into the mix. Let your child decide whether they think it is good or bad.

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