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dbmamaz
08-21-2013, 03:58 PM
So, my teen has been talking some more about politics, so i'm thinking i should cover it somehow - after all, that was my sr year of social studies, gov't and economics. well, close enough

problem is, I actually kinda hate talking about politics. esp with him because he tends to jump to conclusions and use really black and white thinking and for some reason I lose patience with that rather quickly.

anyways, i have 2 books on my amazon wish list - politics for dummies and the complete idiots guide to politics, both of which looked interesting. and i'm thinking of having him watch the daily show and do at least a brief report on something they talked about. any other ideas?

keep in mind, i'm way way to the left, used to live on a commune, never voted anything but democrat, like libertarians socially but disagree with them on almost everything . . .

sdvelochick
08-21-2013, 04:15 PM
I think that all people initially see politics as black and white and it is through education and personal growth that you are able to see the gray area. Is your goal for him to agree with you politically or would you rather him have a different opinion but be able to defend his answer with examples? Assuming the second you can play devils advocate and try to create scenarios where he can begin to see that not all things are so black and white :-) So fun, I love talking politics with my son.

olivebend
08-21-2013, 04:19 PM
I like that that the two political stances you mention are libertarian and democrat.

Nothing really to add other than that was amusing :)

hockeymom
08-21-2013, 04:31 PM
One of my very few truly educational moments in high school was in a political science class. The teacher knew I held very liberal views, yet for an assignment he had me argue--in front of the entire class--an anti-choice stance. It was SO HARD and I was initially very upset about it, but of course it was an excellent experience. If only school had held more opportunities like that!

That doesn't help you much, Cara. Is there maybe some kind of online political science type class he can take? I agree that the black and white thinking might lessen with maturity and exposure to various sides and issues.

hockeymom
08-21-2013, 04:32 PM
I like that that the two political stances you mention are libertarian and democrat.

Nothing really to add other than that was amusing :)

Why amusing? They aren't so different at the core.

dbmamaz
08-21-2013, 04:53 PM
I think she found it amusing that i didnt even mention republicans.

If i enjoyed discussing politics, it would be much easier. I think the only subject i really enjoy is math . . .

farrarwilliams
08-21-2013, 04:55 PM
I think she meant as opposed to Democrat and Republican. :)

Cara, I would focus on the political system and government instead of politics and political issues. That actually is more black and white and can be just as interesting. Also, you'll have to come do a DC field trip. :)

olivebend
08-21-2013, 05:08 PM
I guess I thought it was amusing, since to me, it seemed she was listing them as opposites. And Republican / conservative wasn't mentioned. Specifically.

Mostly the lack of conservatism being mentioned was amusing.

To me, libertarianism (if that's a word) is more of a choose your own adventure. They could really lean either way, just depending on your own personal beliefs.

I'm rather apolitical any more though. I leaned differently politically from my own parents, and got a lot of grief over it. It felt like a personal affront to them that I didn't follow our "roots", as they put it. I'd like to think I'll do better with my own, but I can see how it'll be hard if they aren't. Ideally, much like issues around religion, I would try to approach it with "these people think this".

Cara, if you're interested in it being more of a debate sort of topic, perhaps consider having him review an additional political talk show than The Daily Show, even on the same topics, and let him see how there can be areas of grey.

Stella M
08-21-2013, 06:36 PM
Teens often are black and white in their thinking. It's developmental. Discussion with a politically sane person - by which I mean someone who can handle their child having a different, perhaps more extreme pov - is the best way for them to try out their thinking and ideas. I think it's putting the cart before the horse to try and make them see grey. The job of a teen is to develop their own political views. I'd rather have a teen who is passionate about it than a teen who is apathetic.

It's similar to having discussions with my atheist dd, who is passionate atheist, as opposed to me, a resigned atheist. 'Making' her see the other side will just entrench how she feels. It's better for me to try to really understand where she's coming from, get her to clarify and develop her thoughts, improve her expression. I trust to time, intelligence and maturity to mellow her - or maybe not - passion isn't a crime.

dbmamaz
08-21-2013, 06:39 PM
i'm NOT interested in it being a debate topic. i hate debate and i cant handle it. its not something i can teach and he's going to have to do without it. I can discuss various sides of a topic, but dh really does not like to hear ANYTHING about gov't or politics at all.

I find the daily show makes me more interested in these topics and i really like the way they present it. otherwise, i wouldnt care at all.

and we covered 'government' in 8th grade, and he couldnt care less. He is showing interest in politics, which is why i wanted to go that way.

Stella M
08-21-2013, 06:47 PM
One of my very few truly educational moments in high school was in a political science class. The teacher knew I held very liberal views, yet for an assignment he had me argue--in front of the entire class--an anti-choice stance. It was SO HARD and I was initially very upset about it, but of course it was an excellent experience. If only school had held more opportunities like that!

That doesn't help you much, Cara. Is there maybe some kind of online political science type class he can take? I agree that the black and white thinking might lessen with maturity and exposure to various sides and issues.

I'm glad that experience was ultimately productive for you. It wouldn't be for every teen. I wouldn't ask my daughters to think anti-choice; it makes the two 'sides' equal, and that isn't what I want to teach. For me it would be the moral equivalent of asking a child to imagine the mind of a racist or a homophobe or a misogynist. I see no value in that.

atomicgirl
08-21-2013, 06:50 PM
Maybe you could take a slightly different approach and use something like "Science for Future Presidents" (http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Future-Presidents-Science-Headlines/dp/0393337111/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377125165&sr=8-1&keywords=science+for+future+presidents) or "A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper" (http://www.amazon.com/Mathematician-Reads-Newspaper-Allen-Paulos/dp/038548254X) as a starting place, rather than the more typical Social Studies route?

Stella M
08-21-2013, 06:53 PM
Social psychology is really interesting if you want to find out how your opinions are ( possibly ) being manipulated!

farrarwilliams
08-21-2013, 06:57 PM
Abortion is is perhaps one that it's not best for, but I do think it's useful to have to argue the opposite position from yours for something you really believe in. I mean, I don't think there are a lot of debates where, even if the sides aren't equal per se, they're pretty close. And, of course, it's good to have sane people to bounce ideas off of.

I see what you're saying, Cara, about debate. But for a large part of politics, there is no "right" or "wrong" and no single answers so it almost has to involve debate unless someone is just thinking in a vacuum or without being challenged. Is there a way for you to structure it maybe but find a different outlet for the refining of those ideas?

Stella M
08-21-2013, 07:07 PM
Arguing from another view point is useful once someone is grounded in their own values. Being black and white, craving discussion, is a sign of political values being developed.

Cara, have you explained to your ds why you dislike debating so much ? I think it's OK to set explained limits on interactions - for example, you will help answer questions or find resources but won't get into long and involved debates.

Is there someone who could mentor ds in this interest and provide that discussion ? Is there an online community of like-minded young people who he could join in with ?

Can you divert him away from exploring through discussion and into another avenue of expression...designing an ad ? A game that encourages voting ? An app on an issue he's deeply involved with ? Can he volunteer with someone involved in local politics on 'his' side ?

dbmamaz
08-21-2013, 07:13 PM
idk, my teen is . . . he's just such a weird kid. He really does not enjoy academics much at all. He wont put any effort in to anything. He enjoys talking about things with a person . . .but i dont really have anyone in my life i feel can help with this sort of thing. I mean, he gets some of it at the UU church, i guess? I'm not really sure. and there are not funds available for classes. we're kinda stuck with each other.

He'll be in community college next year, but probably getting a 2-year stand-alone tech degree, just so he can find a job and work until he figures out what he wants. I mostly just give him stuff to read and tell him to write about it, this seems to be what works best for us. Which of course worries me that i havent prepared him well enough . . . but he's also just so immature for his age . . . i think he's just going to have to make the adjustment somehow. if it seems like too big a step, he'll just take fewer classes and I'll enforce him doing his work. It'll be easier than designing and grading it myself, i think.

and he's already signed up for two MOOCs, i dont want to start another until we see how they go

farrarwilliams
08-21-2013, 07:32 PM
If I lived a little closer to you, Cara, we could do a swap. You could teach Mushroom math and I'd happily debate politics with Orion and make him write about it. I don't really mind teaching Mushroom math either, but he's my math kid and he'd probably benefit from your enthusiasm and creativity with it.

Stella M
08-21-2013, 07:35 PM
It is harder when your interests don't co-incide with your kid's. In my experience you either have to grit your teeth and fake it or outsource it. When it comes down to it, those seem to be the only two options...

Crabby Lioness
08-21-2013, 07:42 PM
PBS has some excellent historical documentaries that show where certain positions developed. I highly recommend Eyes on the Prize.

Zuzu
08-21-2013, 07:56 PM
If you have HBO, there's also Bill Maher -- your son can watch debate and you don't have to participate in it. Of course some of the content can be a bit mature, but that's true to some extent with the Daily Show, too.

farrarwilliams
08-21-2013, 08:00 PM
A few years ago, our DI challenge involved doing a skit that was like "the news" and I asked the group had anyone ever actually seen the news (the team were all age 5-6 at the time). Everyone looked confused. Then one of the other moms said, "But who's seen The Daily Show?" Oh, the kids almost all nodded, yeah, The Daily Show, we know what *that* is! :_laugh: Ah, liberal parents.

dbmamaz
08-21-2013, 08:19 PM
he's 17, mature is fine. i put some netflix documentaries on the q and one was bill maher.

farrarwilliams
08-21-2013, 08:34 PM
Is it Religulous? I didn't see it, but apparently he spends a bunch of time giving "evidence" that Jesus never existed or something. Like, just stick to the facts, dude. Imaginary alternate history is why I avoid the Christians sometimes. Don't make it a reason I have to avoid atheists too. Or to dislike Bill Maher, who I usually think is funny and insightful.

Zuzu
08-21-2013, 08:38 PM
I was thinking of Real Time With Bill Maher.

dbmamaz
08-21-2013, 08:45 PM
actually, it might have been religulous, which would be fine, too - but there were also a bunch of political ones

lakersey
08-21-2013, 10:04 PM
You should check out the Virtual Republic (http://ideaofamerica.org/). It's the free, online companion to Colonial Williamsburg's history curriculum, The Idea of America (http://www.history.org/history/teaching/ideaofamerica/index.cfm). They are both really cool. The Virtual Republic presents sticky current issues and the students study them from a historical perspective. Then, they write what they think the current policy should be (no debating!). For the last step, they are encouraged to actually go out and be active for the cause they've chosen. I'm really impressed with it - can't wait to use it in the next year or two.