Model-in-Chief

Sometimes it’s hard to believe the nonsense that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth. He lies openly and often; he brags incessantly; he invents history; he spins conspiracy theories; and he changes his mind—often dramatically—in a moment’s notice. Only a few months into office, news organizations, diplomats far and wide, and even members of his own party have begun to refer to him as liar-in-chief.  So, how do you explain this kind of president to children? 

Can we just ignore him? Hardly! He’s front page news on a daily basis.  Kids laugh at his brazenness. And their parents shrug, not knowing exactly how to deal with the problem of his boldface dishonesty and deceit, his deceptions and denigrations. Our children are clearly paying attention. 

As I’ve written previously, 90 percent of our nation’s teachers believe Trump’s election has created a negative climate in their schools. Eighty percent of non-white students report that Trump’s election has raised serious fears in their lives. No particular locality is immune, though the politics of hate is especially on the rise in areas where economic hardship is confronting rapid social change.

Sign Up for E-News

Whether you hate or love Trump, most parents agree that his behavior and style of communication are not only un-presidential, but often immature, hostile, and provocative. He seems to be constantly looking for a fight to solve any and all of the problems that come his way. Trump now says that he was unprepared to deal with the intricacies of the job of president.  And don’t think that’s not obvious to our kids.  The example he is setting is clearly damaging. 

Look, as parents, we all want our children to be courteous and considerate, thoughtful and hard-working. We want them to live a life based on the morals and character traits we value. We work hard to model the language, the behavior, the actions, and the principles we want them to practice. We chide them about swearing and scold them for being disrespectful; we confront their dishonesty, and we challenge their unkind behavior towards others. We are constantly trying to set them straight, and we are pleased and feel rewarded when they show that they have internalized pro-social behaviors.  

Now, however, the behaviors that are being modeled by Trump and his minions are undermining those lessons for our kids. How does a parent teach that lying is not OK when our president and his people are distorting the truth so frequently? That being rude and name calling is unkind; that angrily walking out on a newspaper reporter because you don’t like the questions being asked is not only discourteous but mean-spirited. 

“Do as I say, not as I do,” just doesn’t fly today. Children will do what they see others do, especially if it works, and it’s easy. They’re especially eager to emulate the rich and powerful. They see Trump getting his way, so why not imitate him? 

Accepting Trump’s bad behavior without confronting it head-on is a mistake. It should not be something you simply get used to and accept. Trump’s rhetoric is not a new style of communication; it is meant to overwhelm by force and deception. We are in danger of raising too many children in this country who will not have the social and emotional intelligence to know how, when, and where to say what’s on their mind appropriately, and act in a suitable manner. Just because a person in power behaves a certain way, doesn’t make it right or ethical, or “presidential” (as Kellyanne Conway would have you believe).

After the Obama years, we’ve come to expect our president to be disciplined, to be a model of civility, and to do his/her best. So, it’s incumbent upon us to point out Trump’s inconsistency and irreverence when it occurs.  Our kids will benefit when we take the time to explain and reflect on the behavior and language he uses to get his point across. 

Use Trump’s presidency as a learning experience for your children.  They will deeply appreciate your honesty and forthrightness and grow from it.   

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Mahopac

I Do Not Make Stuff Up!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote in my column, “Watergate analogies apply to Obama, not Trump,” that President Obama’s Justice Department planted a spy in the Trump campaign. I said I used the term “spy” because this was a counter-intelligence operation, not a criminal investigation, where the term informant would have been proper.

That statement has been brought ...

Here's What You Missed Last Week

Last week, the Daily News ran a headline, “When is our father coming home?” This dealt with a person here illegally, married to an American woman with a family, who was arrested at an Army base while delivering pizza. You are supposed to think that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under Trump, is tearing families apart. As usual, it was a crock of cow pies. It was ...

Reagan on Trump

The party of “Honest Abe” has now become the party of Dishonest Don, and what follows are some disturbing displays of a Republican Party that has become devoid of conscience:

• More than 4,600 American citizens dead in Puerto Rico—a postscript to the government’s abysmal response to the widespread devastation of Hurricane Maria; 
• The underhanded ...

The Rich Get Richer, and We’re Paying For It

According to a Harvard University study published late last year, most Americans believe that the richest 20 percent of Americans own just half of the nation’s wealth. Wrong! The top 20 percent own 93 percent of the nation’s wealth, and the top 1 percent own 40 percent of that wealth. Additionally, the top 10 percent of earners in 2017 took home more than half the nation’s ...

What Kind of Sports Parent Are You?

Social media recently showered a lot of likes and love on a high school pitcher in Minnesota whose team was playing in a regional final that would send the winning team to the state championship game.

After the last batter of the game struck out, the pitcher did something unheard of. Rather than spontaneously join his teammates in an on-field celebration, as is customary, the pitcher ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

Packing Heat

“Are you leaving me?” asked my husband one night as he surveyed the contents of my closet on our bed.

“What? No!” I said. “Why would you think that?”

“Every single article of clothing you own is laid out on our bed,” he replied. “So I have to assume you are either leaving me or you have joined the armed services and if that’s the ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b4cc78dd32adbbf57c97_2018_hiv_testing_day_eng

Wed, June 27, 9:00 AM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

PCDOH Free HIV Testing Day

Health & Wellness