NEW YORK — As tumultuous as the coronavirus pandemic has made life in the United States, the nation’s social and political issues may be even harder to talk about. A survey of American parents finds many are discussing difficult topics like Black Lives Matter and police brutality with their children. Even more say the current state of U.S. politics is making for some tough conversations.
The OnePoll survey of 2,000 parents reveals nearly 70 percent believe talking politics with their kids today is harder than it was for their own folks. Four in five respondents add they are concerned about the country’s current political climate. Nearly half (44%) say they are “very concerned” this election year.
As the U.S. seems more divided than ever before, over half the survey find it “painful” to talk about these divisions with their kids. While it may be hard to talk about, one in five parents say their child has started these conversations.
Tough topics for parents and children
Aside from COVID-19, the biggest talking point for families is the Black Lives Matter movement and race-related issues. The survey finds about seven in 10 parents have talked to their children about BLM and racism in America. Two in three parents have also talked to their kids about police brutality.
A majority of the poll have also brought up white privilege and slavery this year. One in four admits it was the first time they’ve ever talked about these topics with a child.
Other issues families are now talking through with their kids include LGBTQ+ rights, wealth inequality, and the country’s immigration policies.
How are kids reacting to hard-hitting issues?
Researchers find that American children are generally reacting positively to these talks. Fifty-four percent of parents report their child was interested and even eager to learn more about political issues after discussing them with an adult.
Although kids may want to learn more, parents are often reluctant. Nearly one-third of the poll say they are “disheartened” by the current state of the U.S. and it makes them sad when explaining things to children.
Only 44 percent said they were happy to have a chance to discuss political issues with their child.
One other thing the poll revealed is that U.S. politics have fractured many families across America. Nearly 30 percent say they’ve fought with a family member over their political views.
Even more concerning, 28 percent say they’ve cut a family member out of their life due to their political opinions. One in five say they never discuss political issues with their own parents anymore.
Despite not bringing these issues up anymore with their parents, 54 percent of Americans say their parents influenced their current beliefs, but 44 percent of this group admit it pushed them in the opposite direction.