Raising A Child In The Trump Administration

Raising A Child In The Trump Administration.jpg

By Jillian Stacia

Recently, Thirty On Tap contributor Catherine Miele wrote about how she’s scared to have a second child in today’s political landscape. I’m currently pregnant with my first child and can completely relate to Catherine’s feelings. I’ve found myself thinking about this more and more with every passing news story. I’m insecure about so many things when it comes to motherhood, but nothing scares me more than having to raise a child in the Trump Administration.

I want to take a moment to acknowledge my incredible privilege. I am white. I am straight. I am cisgendered. I am upper middle class. My life hasn’t really changed all that much since Trump took office. I acknowledge that, compared to others, I am very, very lucky.

But I’m also terrified.

Because one day, I’m going to have to have a conversation with my child about how this man became President. And it’s not about politics. It never was. It’s about values. It’s about the way we choose to behave in the world. I’m going to have to tell my child that this man stands for everything we stand against, and yet, somehow, he became President. I’m going to have to explain the despicable things he has done. I’m going to have to teach my child how to treat people with dignity and respect in the face of a President who does the exact opposite.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s not really about Trump. Don’t get me wrong, Trump is abhorrent. Trump is despicable. But Trump is one man. And there are always going to be evil and abhorrent and despicable men and women. One bad man I can handle. One bad man I can explain away with a copy of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or an old Disney movie.

The thing I struggle with explaining is the people who voted for him. The people at his rallies. The people with “Burn the Witch” t shirts. The people who vandalize mosques and synagogues. The people who defend his every action. The people who said, “Yes. I’d like this man to lead our country.”

I can explain one bad man to my children. I can’t explain how half the country voted for him regardless.

Since being in office, Trump’s behavior has not improved. In fact, it’s utterly unacceptable, not just for a President, but for a child. How do I teach my children that they need to behave better than the President of the United States? This isn’t a hypothetical. Literally, how do I say that? How do I defend that? How does that hold up in court? How can I honestly say to my kids, “don’t bully, don’t make fun of people’s looks, don’t call people names”, when the President does those things on a daily basis?

We don’t know if our baby is a boy or a girl, but at this point, both options are equally terrifying. I’ll have to teach my daughter that she is more than her looks, while the President tweets about bad face lifts. I’ll try to tell her that her body is her own, even though the President has openly bragged about sexual assault. I’ll explain to her that brains are more important than appearance, even though the President continuously indicates otherwise.

And as scary as those conversations are, I’d still choose them over having to teach my son how a man behaves while this President acts in total contradiction. How can I set higher standards for my son than we have for the President of the United States? How do I say, “this is not what we do, this is not the right way to act, this is not how to treat people”, when he sees the President act in those exact ways without consequence? How do I raise my son to be a decent man with Trump gallivanting around like a total pig in the background?

I’m at a loss.

More than anything, I want my child to know that love is the most important thing. I want them to follow the Golden Rule. I want them to be kind. I want them to love and respect people who look differently or think differently or act differently than they do. I want them to be loving and brave and respectful.

I want them to be nothing like Trump.

I don’t know how I will explain all this to my child. I don’t know what I’ll say. But I do know that my child will need me to be a role model. I know they will want me to fight and resist and keep my head up. I know they will want me to behave in a way that models the values I am so desperately trying to teach them.

So I’ll start there. I’ll start with me. And I’ll start by noticing all the good that still exists and all the good people that help make it that way. I’ll have to work hard to make their world that much brighter in the face of a President who desperately wants to make it dark. I’ll have to prove to them that no matter what, goodness still exists.

Jillian is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.

{featured image via unsplash}


5 thoughts on “Raising A Child In The Trump Administration

  1. Catherine says:

    Beautifully written!
    Love your ending because that’s the only conclusion I’ve come to as well.
    Our children will look to us as role models and we have to show them the light. Teach them to love and respect. It’s terrifying, but thank goodness my son is still young (although the effects of this administration will sadly be felt for many years). As cliche and idealistic as it sounds, I guess it’s up to us to raise a generation that is just as disgusted by such misogyny, xenophobia, and outright hate as we are.


  2. Rothschild says:

    Great article. Imho, you can teach your child about history and the repetition of it. Today, I believe that is where we are at. We have reached that point in every century where certain people start to repeat the failures of the past century. How great that you can teach your child how fortunate your family is to have your own values that do not gel with the evil-minded; that is to be on the right side of history, the same as the many that lived before – those who no matter what happened, stayed on the side of good. They are the resting ancestors who do not have to regret their actions.


  3. Kat Acker says:

    I loved this! My husband and I are currently trying to have a baby. This has been my number one fear since we began trying. As excited as I am to be a mother, I’m terrified that I will one day have to explain to my children that this ma was our president. Thank you for your beautiful post!


  4. erinwrote says:

    Great post, something on a lot of people’s minds I imagine. As a white woman, I think you’re in an ideal position to teach and be a role model for coming generations of white Americans, and your power as a mother is perhaps greater than it feels in the face of such hateful and ignorant chaos. Good on you for thinking through this, sounds like you’ll continue to rear thoughtful, responsible, generous and empathetic humans!


  5. margaritasandmotherhood says:

    I love this!! I’m trying so hard to plant two, tiny seeds of change and hope with the intention of them growing into part of the change this world greatly needs. And you’re right! All we can do is start with ourselves, though I strongly feel as though they’ll look at our examples of empathy and morality and align themselves with what they learn from us, while deterring from the hatefulness half the country now feels comfortable enough to express. At least… I hope so.


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