EU Referendum Parenting Fail

How not to tell your children about the Referendum Result

As a relatively recent Philosophy, Politics and Economics graduate, I feel I am pretty clued up on EU matters and I thought I had done a good job of explaining the referendum to my children.

This morning, like so many others, I woke with a heavy heart. I felt sad, despondent and generally rather shitty. Then I realised that I would have to tell my son the result. Both children had come with me to vote yesterday and I explained how the vote worked and how I was voting.

My son went downstairs before me this morning and shouted up "Mummy, they voted leave. What are we going to do?".

Now I shall admit that at this point I simply said, "I don't know". 

"Will they take the money from my money box?" My son asked.

"Do we have to move house? Why do we have to leave?" My daughter asked.

"No, they're not going to take your money and no, we're not moving house."

Thinking on my feet, I came up with a seemingly good football analogy;

"Well, we're not actually moving anywhere. It's like your football team if you decided not to play with them any more and to play by yourself. Your team wouldn't be as good without you and you wouldn't be able to play football against other teams very well by yourself".

"Mummy, why is my football team finishing? Do I still get to play the match on Saturday? What about my new football boots, will I still need them?"

"No, you won't be leaving your football team, I was just trying to say that the UK leaving the EU would be like you leaving your football team".

"Mummy, why don't his football friends like him any more?"

"No, his friends do like him. I was just trying to use him as an example."

I managed to gain a semblance of order whilst we sat down to eat breakfast. We were listening to the radio and discussing things in more detail. At which point, in my wisdom, I felt I ought to add something about the Prime Minister. It went along the lines of "as long as the Prime Minister doesn't resign, it should be ok, because I don't think the other people who would like to be Prime Minister are very good."

"Who are the other people mummy?"

"Well, they are the people who wanted to leave the EU. One of them is a bit silly and has funny hair, the other is a bit mean and doesn't like schools and hospitals."

Within about two minutes of this conversation, we were listening to David Cameron announcing he was stepping down. Cue wailing from both children. 

"Mummy, will the silly man be in charge now?"

"How about we just kill him mummy? Then he will be dead and he won't be silly any more." My daughter declared.

What have I created? How did this situation get out of control so quickly? How the fuck am I explaining this so poorly?

So please, please don't make the same mistakes as me. I only hope my mistakes can guide you towards the correct way to tell your children. I ended up feeling guilty that I had explained it so badly and guilty that I have somehow let them down with this result.

As we left for school I said to them both that whatever happens, we need to treat people with kindness, no matter what they look like, speak like or how they act. We need to be kind and considerate and to love each other. 

In my mind at least, the only way we can get through the unknown ahead is together. I may completely disagree with the outcome of the referendum, but we need to come together rather than divide further if this country is going to succeed alone.