WashU Expert: Talking to your kids about election outcome

If adults are feeling anxious, depressed or angry about the presidential election results, their children might be feeling the same.

Joan Luby headshot

Joan Luby, MD, the Samuel and Mae S. Ludwig Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, offers advice to parents on what they can say to their children who are expressing anxiety or sadness.

Luby said children — especially children of color, those in immigrant families and girls — may be feeling frightened, anxious and disappointed because of comments they heard Donald Trump say in the run-up to the election.

An expert on depression in young children, Luby suggests that parents remind children that there are safeguards in place for the protection of civil liberties and against extreme views. “When we talk to children about the election results, I think we need to reassure them about the safety that is built into our system of government that serves to protect them,” Luby said.

She also thinks parents need to help children understand why someone would vote for Trump despite some of the things he said. “We need to explain to children what supporters might have been thinking and feeling — not that they necessarily are hateful or bigoted — but more that they were focused on some form of change.”

Editor’s note: Members of the media interested in interviewing Luby can reach her by contacting Judy Martin Finch at 314-286-0105 or Diane Duke Williams at 314-286-0111.

Read more from our experts on Election 2016.

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