By now, many parents are over the shock of the recent election of Donald Trump. If you’re like me you had to explain to a seven-year-old that 1) this man that you swore would never get elected president did, 2) daddy wouldn’t be sent back to Africa, and 3) nothing bad is going to happen. But honestly, I worry about her future. Will she suddenly be exposed to some of the darkest moments of my childhood, when screaming nigger at me was something white people did for fun?
As a parent, I can’t let that happen. And it’s not just me. Parents everywhere are feeling the burn, though not the good kind à la Bernie Sanders. This one hurts. The good news is parents don’t have to do it alone. We’re banding together, soliciting the advice of experts, and doing what we have to do to figure this out.
So if you’re looking for answers on how to prepare for the Trump years, here are 7 ways to help you deal.
1) Insulate the environment
There are times when you have to break out the protective shield. For Quiana, an African American mom with two young children, that means censoring Trump. “Gone are the days when the President came on and the whole family sat around the TV, “ she says. “Based on his language, and the negative things he’s said about people in the past, my kids won’t be watching him.” Mine either.
2) Open communication
“Be validating,” says Dr. Isaiah Pickens, a clinical psychologist. “We may unknowingly dismiss their concerns about the future by encouraging them not to think about it or distract them with activities and games. Ask your kids what is making them feel stressed and let them know you understand how they can feel that way.”
3) Be self-aware
“Though you may have tremendous concerns about your family’s future and the future of the country. It is important that you are mindful how you discuss these concerns around your kids,” says Dr. Isaiah Pickens. Meaning, no screaming, “This country is screwwwwwed!” at the dinner table.
“Do I boycott the Inauguration or do I use my energy to give service?” contemplates Jen Hughes, a white mom who recently participated in the Pussy Power Protest at Trump Tower with her preteen daughter. And though she knows that she, herself, will be active, she’s making sure not to pressure her daughter. “I’m presenting her with options and I’ll let her make up her mind on what she wants to do, if anything,” shares Jen.
Psychologist Dr. Kristin Carothers, of the Child Mind Institute, suggests that parents sit down with kids and make a list of organizations and causes to join as a way to stay active.
5) Take care of yourself
“The stress linked to the election can spill over into your parenting, job performance, and personal relationships,” says Dr. Isaiah Pickens, “so notice when you begin to have difficulties concentrating or become short-tempered with others.” For Los Angeles dad and artist Miles Regis, creating art is how he stays sane. “Painting the day after the elections took me to a place of calm I had not been able to find,” he explains. “There’s comfort and therapy in creating during times of extreme turmoil. It really does help with the healing.”
6) Pack your bags
Leaving the country is becoming a very real reality for many Americans. Like Khadijha, a Muslim mom from Morocco who became a US Citizen. “I came to America looking for something and I didn’t find it. I don’t feel safe. When Trump talks about Muslims I can feel the hate.”
7) Be optimistic
It’s easy to think of all the worse case scenarios as we transition into life with with Trump, but it’s really not the end of the world. As Dr. Kristin Carothers says, “As African-Americans, we always have to keep going. You can’t give up.” And Miles Regis points out, “The greater message of ‘we shall overcome’ prevails. And we will continue to walk with our heads up high.”