BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A recent McClathy-Marist poll found 14 percent of voters characterized the 2016 campaign for the White House as "mean spirited".
With Republican candidate Donald Trump leading the way accused of attacking everyone from Muslims, to women, to the disabled, many parents may find themselves explaining some very complicated issues to people too young to cast a vote.
"That's what's so tricky right now, because these discussions are hard to have, people have strong feelings, but if we don't try and we don't engage children in having them then none of us are going to learn anything," said Claire Cameron.
Cameron is an Associate Professor in the Department of Learning and Instruction in the Graduate School of Education at the University at Buffalo. She says it's important to have this conversation with children and encourage them to ask questions and voice their opinions. For example one coworker said his daughter asked him if Donald Trump was a "jerk."
"I always like to answer a tricky question or a statement with another question like, 'Hmm. Well, what makes you say that? What is it that he's doing that makes you thing that he's a jerk?'" said Cameron.
Cameron says that will help kids to think through what they're seeing and hearing. She's says it's also a good thing to fact check what the candidates are saying. That helps kids separate fact from fiction.
Cameron says it's also important for parents not to impose their own political views on their children. Using these statements as a teachable moment allows kids to develop their own views.
Finally, Cameron says parents can also limit the negative messages and find other ways to keep the conversation going.
"There's ways to engage that really didn't exist very many years ago. So I think that's an opportunity to learn from each other," said Cameron.