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Posted by on Nov 17, 2016 in 2016 Presidential Election, Bigotry, Family, Immigration, Migrants, Women | 29 comments

Update: What Parents Are Telling Their Daughters after the Election

Parents and daughters


While many parents have been trying to explain to their children — especially to their daughters — how someone like Donald Trump could have been elected to be our next president (see below), some children have already moved on and are writing the president-elect letters encouraging him to “be kind and nice.”

The letters, part of a Facebook group called “Dear President Trump: Letters from Kids About Kindness,” are sincere, touching and heartfelt — as kids’ expressions tend to be.

Since I feel strongly about the Trump-proposed mass deportations and “Wall” issues, I was especially struck by the following two letters:

“Dear Mr. Trump, Kids in my class are very scared. Please don’t kick them out. In my school we get sent to the wall when we’re in trouble. My friends did not do anything wrong. Don’t send them to the wall. Love, Abby age 6.”


“Dear Mr. Trump I won an award at school for kindness and respect. I think you should be kind and do not!! build a wall between Mexico and America. Because we have friends there. Please be kind. Sincerely Henry.”

Please read the entire article at the Washington Post and watch the video below.

Original Post:

In the days after Donald Trump was elected to be the next U.S. president, many fathers and mothers racked their brains and dug deep into their psyche trying to explain to their sons and daughters “How America selected a racist, sexist bully” as our next president.

Most are concerned about their daughters.

Why our daughters?

Perhaps to console them that a woman is not going to be our next president?

Perhaps to somehow explain to them how a bully, a man who has said so many vile things about women, minorities, Muslims, people with disabilities is going to be our next president?

Perhaps to try to wipe away the fears and the tears of little Latinas who will now have recurring nightmares about being torn away from their parents, perhaps to never see them again?

Perhaps to try to explain the unexplainable: How Americans could elect as their leader a man who has bragged about doing horrible things to women and has been accused by many women of doing exactly that.

Here are some examples of what parents are saying or writing to their daughters.

Jessica Valenti at The Guardian, wrote this the day after the election: “My six-year-old fell asleep thinking Hillary Clinton would be the first female president. Now I have to explain to her why Donald Trump was chosen instead.”

She continues

[Layla] woke up in a changed America today – one where a liar and a racist, a xenophobe and a serial harasser of women, will lead us. She woke up in a place that flatly rejected progress, a country where a man can admit to sexually assaulting women and win millions of votes because, not in spite, of it.
How will I explain to her about how many women have been hurt, badly, because of the sexism that surrounds them? How will I keep her from being afraid that her fate to suffer the same is inevitable?

Valenti knows she will eventually “find the right words to relay the gravity of the election to [her] daughter without scaring her.

The Oscar-winning screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, is somewhat more pragmatic and doesn’t mince words in a letter to both his 15-year-old daughter Roxy and her mother Julia Sorkin.

Sorkin regrets not having been able to protect the “Sorkin Girls” from “a thoroughly incompetent pig with dangerous ideas, a serious psychiatric disorder, no knowledge of the world and no curiosity to learn…”and from “[S]exists, racists and buffoons…Men who have no right to call themselves that and who think that women who aspire to more than looking hot are shrill, ugly, and otherwise worthy of our scorn rather than our admiration…”

Sorkin concludes:

The battle isn’t over, it’s just begun. Grandpa fought in World War II and when he came home this country handed him an opportunity to make a great life for his family. I will not hand his granddaughter a country shaped by hateful and stupid men. Your tears last night woke me up, and I’ll never go to sleep on you again.

Tanya Bishai, the mother to two elementary aged children, writes to her daughter Ava:

Dear Ava,

This morning while you stood in the kitchen all sleepy-eyed and half awake, I told you who won the presidential election. Your eyes widened, and your mouth dropped. You stood there in silence for a second, then said, “I feel so sad for Hillary.”

Then Bishai tells Ava about her little brother’s comments and how Ava reacted to him:

Your brother broke the silence when he announced, “Trump is a jerk!” He went on to tell me, “because he talks bad about women like you and Ava.” While his father was telling him our family doesn’t call anyone names, I turned to see your face flushed in delight and your eyes twinkling. The little man you adore the most in the world was calling out our President-elect’s bad behavior while taking up for his favorite girls (me and you). Maybe your brother’s defense will carry you through the day.

Bishai concludes her letter as follows:

Despite the somberness of today, take heart, my love. One day very soon, a woman will lead this great country. And maybe, just maybe, it will be you.
Lead like a girl!

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank reassures his seventh-grade daughter that she is going to be OK. He tells her that, although he is deeply worried for our nation because of the dreadful things Trump has said during the campaign and in spite of the “still more terrible things he could do” as president, to keep those fears in perspective because “this election, by itself, doesn’t mean America won’t be a safe place for immigrants, black people, Latinos, Muslims, Jews, gays and lesbians, or a place where women aren’t treated fairly.”

Milbank provides statistics to support his message of hope to his daughter and finishes his letter with the following reassuring words:

People joke about fleeing to another country, but America remains the greatest country on Earth. You are rightly scared that a man who talks about women the way Trump does was elected president. But we all know a woman will be elected president someday. Maybe it will be you.

At your bat mitzvah next week, we will end the service, as always, with a prayer for our country:

“Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance.
May they govern with justice and compassion.”
God bless you, my daughter, and God bless America.
All my love,

The extent of angst and concern so many parents feel for their children is perhaps best illustrated when a comedian, a satirist, gets (somewhat) serious when trying to “unpack” Trump’s win for his six-year-old daughter.

After pondering how to explain the election results — the fact that “millions of adults had done something very stupid on Election Day” — Andy Borowitz at The New Yorker offers the following explanation to his young daughter: “Imagine the stupidest thing you could ever do, like peeing on a stack of pancakes. Now, imagine that the United States is a stack of pancakes. Millions of grownups just peed on it.”

As his daughter giggles at this and runs off to play, Borowitz feels “relieved and grateful for the alacrity with which children laugh at their elders.” But he is still waiting for someone to explain the election to him.

I don’t have a young daughter anymore, but I do know and love an adorable little girl, daughter of a couple who have lived in our country for more than 20 years — hardworking, law abiding, beautiful religious people: the salt of the earth.

Esperanza or Fe — I won’t use her real name — was born, just like her sisters, in the United States of America.

We saw the little girl’s mother the morning after the elections.

She told us how this beautiful, innocent little girl reacted to the news that a man who has pledged — and continues to do so — to deport her parents, to cruelly separate sons and daughters from their parents, to deny their birthright citizenship, had just been elected president of the most just, tolerant, compassionate country on earth. A country that once welcomed “…your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

Suffice to say it broke our hearts.

Suffice to say, we assured the little girl’s mother that real Americans would never let this happen.

Suffice to say that such assurances are based on our most fervent esperanza and our deep fe in America and the American people.

Lead photo credit: johnnyvintage family via photopin (license)

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Copyright 2016 The Moderate Voice
  • Shannon Lee

    very nice DdW.

    • Thanks, Shannon Lee. My wife especially liked Borowitz’ comments and wondered why hardly any letters are being written to sons.That parents should warn them against following Trump’s example.

      • Shannon Lee

        I would hope that any good parent has already taught their sons to not behave like Trump. Page 1 in the parent handbook…I think a couple pages in the bible cover that as well (not that Christians care).

  • Robert P. Coutinho

    I will resist.

    • If your are talking about resisting any mass roundup and deportation of these good people, I’ll be right up there with you, RC — with every fiber of my old body.


      There is another way, as Jorge Ramos, a TIME 100 honoree and Senior News Anchor for Univision and Fusion begs the president-elect here:

      Donald Trump told me in Iowa in August 2015 that he had a bigger heart than mine. Well, now is the perfect time to show it. He has the addresses and the personal information of all the Dreamers. I just hope that he doesn’t use the federal government archives against them.

      • Shannon Lee

        I wonder if protests at border control points would be out of the question? Me thinks not. I can see it happening in California, maybe New Mexico. Arizona and Texas…not so much.

        I can also see something like that getting really ugly really fast considering all of the militia crackpots walking the border.

      • Robert P. Coutinho

        Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. I may need to buy bolt cutters.

        • Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist

          I may need to buy bolt cutters.

          With esperanza for what the Trump future may hold and with fe in America, hopefully they won’t be needed – but keep them handy, just in case.

  • dduck

    Tell their sons to treat women and allies with respect.

  • KP

    Thoughtful parents are proactive.

    They don’t wait.

    They are mentors.

    What a great time to be a child that has a mentor.

    Not same as an ideologue.


    What a wonderful world.

  • epiphyte

    Thanks for posting about this DDW; I have two daughters myself – one a high-school junior, the other in seventh grade. The junior in particular was devastated by the outcome of the election. A week on though, I’m much less worried than I was about how it’s going to affect her. In fact in some ways I’m starting to wonder if the next few years might bring out in her some valuable strengths which might not otherwise have come to the fore.

    • Glad to hear that, epi. It seems to me that our young people are much more resilient, conciliatory and flexible than some of us old farts — at least than this old fart.

    • KP

      My goodness …. one wonders how a child in high school and the junior can be particularly devastated by an election.

      Their little front brains are not even developed.

      My two cents:

      1) stop talking to children from the position of a devastated adult. They don’t need your devastation. They need your Parenting..

      2) cut off their twitter and facebook feeds. Back to number one, they need your parenting skills such as they are.

      • KP

        I recall thinking my little seventh grade girl’s saxophone reed had a crack and we needed to replace it.

        As well, we had a heartfelt discussion about boys and girls. Maybe we read “Call of the Wild” at night.

        My two cents, I thought seventh grade was too early for my girls to be distraught. Thoughtful, yes.

        Why are ideologue’s (especially in schools) trying to recruit children instead of mentoring them.

        • roseyrey

          Did you miss how these lessons are in reaction to kids coming to school rightly afraid that their families will be torn apart? Have you missed the fact that violent and hateful speech has been hurled at these kids and their parents from other kids and adults? Helping them work through these emotions and fear IS mentoring. Kids who are themselves targeted don’t need to be “recruited” into thinking the hate is wrong; it is directed at them.

      • roseyrey

        So your advice is to pretend everything’s fine, not talk about it, pretend teenagers can’t feel devastation (wut?), discourage involvement in politics at all, and take away their methods of communication. Great advice for the parents of a 4-year-old. Really terrible, impossible advice for kids in junior high and high school.

      • epiphyte

        I’m not sure I see where you’re coming from with this, KP. Can’t imagine how you got the impression you did w.r.t anything about whatever sort of parenting goes on around here.

        FYI though, the daughter in question is very politically aware and something of an activist, took AP government as a sophomore, and doesn’t have a twitter account.

        I did discover today though that she reads this site on occasion – so that “little front brains are not even developed” quip might come back to haunt you!

        • epi.

          I was surprised at those comments, too.

          I am putting together a piece addressing the reactions to fathers who voted for Trump by daughters — women — whose “front brains” are definitely fully developed.

        • dduck

          @epi, rose, DDW: cool it, KP raised his, you raise yours.

          • roseyrey

            It seems like your “cool it” could maybe go to the guy who is castigating everyone else as ideologues who are “recruiting” just because they think their teenagers aee capable of distress.

  • dduck

    Good advice from Nicholas Kristof:
    3. I WILL avoid demonizing people who don’t agree with me about this election, recognizing that it’s as wrong to stereotype Trump supporters as anybody else. I will avoid Hitler metaphors, recognizing that they stop conversations and rarely persuade……….

    • Shannon Lee

      well….. I will stereotype all people that voted for trump as “bigot tolerant”. They may not practice conscious bigotry in their every day lives, but they know it when they see and they saw it in the trump campaign…and still voted for him.
      And since I personally feel that anyone that tolerates racism and sexism is a bigot…then I will call them all bigots in my head…and maybe online…and in person if they want to have a conversation.

      People may have voted to drain the swamp…but they asked the Klan to do the dirty work. I refuse to normalize trump or trump supporters.

      • dduck

        I’ll remind myself that no side has a monopoly on truth and that many Trump supporters are good people who want the best for the country. The left already has gotten into trouble for condescending to working-class people, and insulting all Trump supporters as racists simply magnifies that problem.”

        • Robert P. Coutinho

          No side has a monopoly on truth, but Trump is decidedly hoarding the position on LIES!

        • Shannon Lee

          I am not sure how good people can be inspired by hate talk. I understand how good people can lose hope, but those people still have a choice. Then again…I was watching a special on tv today about W. Vir. coal miners. A coal miner had lost his shifts and said he voted for Trump to get his job back…he was just rehired. Eating vs principles.

      • KP

        I didn’t vote for Trump.

        This might be the right time for you, Shannon Lee, to represent in America _ in person_.

        Bring some personal Shannon Lee mojo back to the discussion in SoCal, Arizonna, etc. You know, eye balls to eye balls.

        I will stand Shoulder to Shoulder with you.

        Other wise I can send you a chunck of cheese and a box a whine.

        • Shannon Lee

          working on it KP… getting back to Southern California is the goal. SoCal aint cheap…so the circumstances need to be right, but we will return.

  • rudi

    The battle isn’t over, it’s just begun. Grandpa fought in World War II and when he came home this country handed him an opportunity to make a great life for his family.

    Let’s not forget that the US military that helped defeat the Axis Powers was segregated. “Coloreds” were delegated to clean up and menial duties. The Tuskegee Airmen were an exception. Truman used an EXECUTIVE ORDER to end military segregation. The Legislature and SC did nothing about military racism.
    Executive Order 9981: Desegregation of the Armed Forces (1948)
    If Trump carries out his mass deportations, he’ll turn back histoty to before Hoover.

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