Kids are afraid of Donald Trump, Utah child psychologist says

Posted at 10:36 PM, Aug 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-23 10:24:50-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- There is a new fear that's keeping children up at night, according to one local child psychologist. It’s the fear of Donald Trump.

The Republican nominee for president has said things that have caused minority families with children to seek counseling, according to Dr. Douglas Goldsmith, Executive Director of The Children’s Center.

“This is unheard of, entering elementary school, to have the added burden of now worrying about the presidential election,” Goldsmith said.

In his 30-plus years of child psychology, Goldsmith said, he's never seen a presidential candidate cause a six-year-old stress, until now.

“Several children honestly in tears saying, ‘I am really scared of Donald Trump,’” Goldsmith said.

He said Trump’s speeches have specifically struck a chord among minority children.

"The idea of the wall is easy for kids of all ages to imagine, and that's terrifying," Goldsmith said. “They talk about being frightened of separation, they talk about being frightened about being sent away from the country.”

Dual Immersion Academy has a 90 percent Hispanic Latino enrollment. Donald Trump is a common name heard throughout their hallways and classrooms.

"I've heard a lot of kids talking about how he is going to get rid of all the Mexicans and I don't think they understand exactly what he's talking about or what that means for them, but again, for our population that could mean their parents, their aunts, their uncles,” said Executive Director Angela Fanjul of Dual Immersion Academy.

Alicia Pacheco has three young children. She said they have asked her whether their grandparents are safe.

"I don't want them to be sent back to Mexico I want them to stay here," said her 8-year-old daughter Alyssa Pedregon.

"It's sad to think that they would think that my parents would get deported, and it's not a topic that has ever came up until now that Donald Trump is running for office," Pacheco said.

Goldsmith said it's important for parents to be a buffer between the politics you see on the news and your children, and to explain to them what these candidates are saying in a non-threatening way.