The Democratic Process and Your Tweens

Adolescent boy dressed in coattail and top hat, wearing an I voted sticker with an American flag filling the background
Cathy Walters

You can use this activity to teach your tween about the democratic process and inspire him or her to help those in need.

Explain that your family will donate money to a ministry or charity. Choose two or three charities, and help your tween research each organization's mission. For example, you might look into Compassion International or World Vision. You could also visit a church-run food bank.

Let each family member make a persuasive case for a particular charity, explaining why he or she believes that organization is worthy of your family's donation.

After family members do their "campaign speech," tell your kids that you'll use the democratic process to decide. Have your family vote for the organization they feel is most deserving of the family's contribution.

Some family members may be disappointed with the election's outcome. Explain that although a charity organization (or a political candidate) may have fine qualities, the charity may fail to garner enough votes to win. Talk about how persuasion can sway the outcome. Also point out how citizens have to choose to vote in order to have a say in the process.

—Dr. Bill Maier

Developmental Milestones

As you discuss the democratic process with your tween, consider what's happening with his mental and emotional development:

Plenty is going on — physical growth, maturing emotions, the acquisition of a host of intellectual and physical skills, the shaping of moral values, and, yes, the gradual approach to that eventful transition to adulthood known as adolescence. All of these changes are important and need plenty of parental guidance, prayer and input. This is not time for Mom and Dad to put their parenting skills on autopilot as their child cruises through the elementary grades.

—Taken from the Complete Guide to Baby & Child Care, published by Tyndale House Publishers Inc., © 1997, 2007 Focus on the Family.

From God's Word

As your tween grows, continue to teach biblical values that inform good decisions, including the choice of good leaders.

"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)

"The Democratic Process and Your Tweens" first appeared in the August/September 2012 issue of Thriving Family magazine and was a section of the article titled "We The People ...." If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. Get it delivered to your home by subscribing to it for a gift of any amount.

Copyright © 2012 by Focus on the Family and Dr. Bill Maier. Used by permission.

Next in this Series: Citizenship, Democracy and Your Teen

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