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On Wednesday, a Huffington Post article headlined “What Do We Tell The Children?” is going viral, as worried Hillary Clinton supporters bemoan President-elect Donald Trump’s victory.

The article makes some valid points: Trump offended many groups of people on the campaign trail, using rough and unacceptable language. He acted like a bully. He was not nice.

But if you’re having trouble explaining the outcome of last night’s election to your children, perhaps you should rethink how you framed this election cycle in the first place.

If you told your children Trump is a “mean person” and painted this election as a choice between good and evil, then yes, today you will be in the difficult position of telling your children that the mean, evil man won with the help of nearly 60 million voters.

But that’s not what this election was. A better framing would be to explain that both Clinton and Trump are flawed human beings, and that people voted for and against them for a variety of complex reasons. Don’t underestimate children: They can understand this. Unfortunately, too many adults cannot.

Just because Trump’s character flaws are easier to explain to children doesn’t mean Clinton didn’t have any. Trump was a bully and name-caller, but Clinton carried ethical baggage related to Benghazi, her private email server and the Clinton Foundation.

Many Americans voted with heavy hearts, fully aware their choice was for the lesser of two evils. Depending on how we understood and weighed personality versus policy issues, we came to different conclusions about which person that was.

If we tell children the mean man won, and we demean the millions of people responsible for his victory, then we only perpetuate the divisiveness that was so off-putting about Trump’s campaign.

Instead, we should tell children that good people in our country, people with sound minds and compassionate hearts, often disagree. And that’s all right. When we disagree, we treat each other as we’d want to be treated: We talk, we listen and we consider what it’s like to be in the other person’s shoes.

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We have a lot to learn from talking with children about major world events. Sometimes things are hard to explain. But we do our children no favors by oversimplifying and wrongly framing this election as the triumph of evil. It’s not.

Hadley Heath Manning is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. She is a senior policy analyst and director of health policy at the Independent Women’s Forum, and a Tony Blankley Fellow at the Steamboat Institute. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

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