Presidential 2022: How to Talk to Your Kids About Round Two?

A few days before the second round of the 2022 presidential election, the polls still show a very narrow gap between Emmanuel Macron (La République En Marche) and Marine Le Pen (Rallye National). According to a survey conducted by Ifop for Bayard and published in March 2022, 70% of parents say they talk about politics with their children. But it’s not always easy to know how to proceed, what to declare, whether to disclose your voting intent, etc.

However, it is a key moment in a child’s upbringing, as elections are a crucial experience in integrating civic behaviors. To decipher all this, WE DEMAIN interviewed Delphine Saulière, Director of Magazines -12 years old at Bayard Jeunesse (Pomme d’Api, Astrapi, I like to read…). The various youth titles of the group have been working for 6 months on the theme of the 2022 presidential elections. Objective: to offer on their pages clear explanations adapted to each age group of children.

WE DEMERE: Should you talk to your child about politics?

Delphine Sauliere
Delphine Sauliere. DR

Delphine Sauliere: Absolutely, especially when the time is right, like during a presidential election. This is a good opportunity to make abstract things concrete. As for the degree of depth, of course, it all depends on the age of the child. But it is especially interesting for teenagers. For the youngest, this is an opportunity to answer the very basic questions they may have. We have therefore shed light on the mysteries of the profession of President of the Republic. Where does he live ? What is he doing with his days? What are his duties, his salary? Why does he always wear a suit? Was there ever a female president in France?…

According to your Parents, Children, and Politics survey conducted for this 2022 presidential election, 70% of parents say they talk politics to their children…

Yes, just over two-thirds of the French are concerned about the transmission of civic behavior. Although the discussions are generally very occasional, this needs to be stressed. The presidential election is often the culmination of these moments. And the family remains a privileged place of transmission. There is a real concern about the delivery of Republican gestures on this occasion. In addition, 47% of parents say their children accompany them to the polling station. And 32% admit they are even with them in the voting booth [ce n’est officiellement pas admis mais est généralement toléré, NDLR]. Even more worryingly, nearly a third (30%) say they never discuss politics with their children. This usually reflects a lack of interest on the part of adults in this topic.

Not all parents are inclined to reveal who they’re voting for in this 2022 presidential election…

A majority (57%) believe in transparency, but actually not everyone does. Either to avoid influencing their child’s opinion or because they want to keep the information to themselves. Also, many children do not ask their parents who they vote for. According to our survey, 56% don’t know who their parents will actually vote for.

This is quite normal, especially with the youngest, because their world is limited to what affects them directly (family, neighborhood, school, friends, sport). Telling them about a policy that affects people they don’t know is way too abstract.

As far as the exchange of ideas and preferred candidates is concerned, there are big differences depending on the political interests of the parents. The more passionate they are, the more likely they are to share their political views with their children. And that’s a good thing: it’s important to share your beliefs when you have them. While there is obviously no obligation to say who we vote for, it remains important to say that we vote. And to remember how important this is in our daily life. This is part of the process of building the child’s citizenship.

Shall we watch the debate between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen with his children?

I would like to say that in a child under 10 years old it is not absolutely necessary. Because he will not have the keys to understanding nor the perspective. Everything should be explained to him point by point… On the other hand, with a teenager it is interesting. This is an opportunity to decode the game of debate with him. He will understand the problems more easily.

The most important thing is to be by his side and make sure the screen doesn’t catch him. It is necessary to make comments out loud and help him decipher certain complex points. Or even explain to him why this or that argument hit the mark. Why such a candidate struggles on this and that issue by giving him the keys. Of course, it is even better if you and your child have studied the programs for the 2022 presidential election in advance.

What if the candidate of their choice is eliminated in the first round?

It’s obviously not easy to explain to your child that the person you initially chose has been eliminated. And that in the second round of the 2022 presidential election, we think we must now vote for “least worst” of the two people still in the running. If you don’t have strong beliefs in this situation, it might be better not to respond to the question. But it can also be an opportunity to convey to your child that in society, and even more so in a democracy, compromises have to be made. And you must accept the choice of the majority, even if it is not yours.

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