I typically have worked for parents that vote differently than I do. Although I am a passionate follower of almost everything political in America, and I make it no secret about who I support, I confess I don’t discuss it in depth with the parents at work.
But, I have heard stories about some hostile arguments between parents and nannies that I know. Sharing strong opinions on political topics can often offend the other person. Even when employers don’t tell their nanny that they disagree, the parents may be making mental notes about their employee by what they say about politics in their home. So, I urge nannies to consider that even if they don’t consider their opinions as hateful or angry in nature, it still may sound hostile to parents that don't share the same views.
Of course, when parents and nannies support different political parties it is also an opportunity to teach the kids about respecting differences. In order to respect other religions and cultures we teach kids about them, not ignore them. Hate, anger, and hostility don’t ever need to be part of the discussion of politics within the house we work in either. Knowledge of how to engage in public life is one of the most important rights and responsibilities Americans have. Therefore we must teach kids to do the same.
To Dos and Do Nots of Politics for Nannies:
1. Don’t post hate speech about politics anywhere online. Job seekers don’t want future employers to think that their nanny candidate is spending her free time bad-mouthing others, even if they are bad-mouthing politicians.
2. Don't ever tell the kids why you think the parents' political opinions are wrong.
3. Just be silent. You don’t have to say anything to anyone about politics. Who you vote for is your private business. Just like your personal relationships and religion, politics is a private matter.
4. Teach kids about Democracy and government. In a Democracy citizens are allowed the freedom of religion. There is no king or tyrant in charge. In a Democracy each individual person has a vote about what to do. Each vote counts equally. Anybody can propose a new law. In a Democracy we are assured good governance (focus on public interest and absence of corruption). There is also a separation of powers between the institutions of the state such as the government, parliament, and courts of law.
5. Do tell the kids that in America we have a peaceful change of leaders. There is no need for the military to use force when new Mayors, Governors, Congressman, Senators, Presidents, or any public official switch hands. The formerly elected official may attend the inauguration of the newly elected official as a sign of a peaceful, Democratic election.
6. Show kids that differences in opinion (even in politics) is okay.