The incendiary U.S. election is proving to be a challenging teachable moment for some Canadian parents who are struggling to explain the surprising results to their curious children.

But at least they can comfort their youngsters with the fact they live in a country that has embraced much different values than the divisive ones that marked the U.S. campaign, says Oakville, Ont., dad Jason Little.

The morning after America elected Donald Trump as its next president, Little says his nine-year-old daughter stunned him by asking whether Trump would start a world war.

“I only cared about baseball at that age. It’s just really a hard conversation to start,” Little said Wednesday.

He says his daughter had been following Hillary Clinton’s bid to become the country’s first female president, but she didn’t take her loss as a signal that women can’t be leaders.

“For her, it’s more: he’s a bad person, she’s a good person,” he says.

“She was more, I think, mixed in her response — disappointed, sad, angry, all at the same time.”

Little says he and his wife tried to emphasize their belief that people are generally good, despite the misogyny, xenophobia and racial hatred that marked Trump’s campaign.

Little stressed that there would be enough people around Trump to prevent anything bad from happening, but admits his kids are exposed to a surprising amount of political hyperbole thanks to chatter at school and the YouTube stars they follow.

“They hear all the bad things magnified about him,” says Little, who also has an 11-year-old son.

In her concession speech, Clinton seemed to acknowledge the potential impact of her defeat on young girls who might be demoralized by the vote.

“To all the little girls how are watching this: Never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

Little says the election results — and how they were interpreted by kids — dominated chatter with other parents on the walk to school on Wednesday.

“I don’t know why it’s just so front and centre at that young age in the school but all the parents we walk to school with, it was all the same,” says the 42-year-old dad.

“One of the parents said their kid woke up in the middle of the night with a nightmare about the election. And I’m like, ‘Holy cow, this is something.'”

Little says they haven’t shielded their kids from the news, even though the U.S. campaign was especially nasty and demeaning. If anything, that helped highlight how different politics are in Canada, he said.

“A year ago we watched the election with Trudeau and they love him. Just to see the difference in the reaction and the coverage I think is comforting,” he says,

“They know we’re kind of a nice country. We just keep reinforcing the same thing: respect people, people have their opinions, they’re entitled to their opinion.”

Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press

Filed under: bullying, kids, parenting, Politics, sexims, US election