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A mom's open letter to Donald Trump: You're teaching our kids to be bullies

Rebecca Bahret is a freelance writer and proud Facebook junkie. After eleven years in law enforcement doing everything from evidence collection to undercover narcotics, she is content in her latest (and favorite) assignment: Mommy. She i...

I'm a mom, and I'm horrified by what Donald Trump is teaching my son

Hey there, Mr. Trump,

I’m calling you Mr. Trump not out of deference, but preference. “Mr. Trump” seems to be your favored designation, and I’d really like you to read this letter. Plus, it’s courteous to begin correspondence with a polite salutation (I mention this because I’m not sure you’re aware). So, Mr. Trump, with civil greetings out of the way, we need to have a talk.

Dude, you need to knock your shit off.

You see, Mr. Trump, I have sons, young boys of 7 and 4, and I’m trying my best to teach them right from wrong, good from bad, and frankly, you are making it really, really hard for me right now. In the past, I could hold up our political leaders as at least moderate examples of how to behave.

More: Donald Trump makes me embarrassed to be a Republican

Take our current president, Barack Obama, for example. He smokes, something I don’t want my kids to do. But — and this is an important distinction — he doesn’t do it out in the open for all the world to see. President Obama recognizes that smoking isn’t a behavior to emulate, so he doesn’t do it in the large, public forum his office provides. You, on the other hand, make penis assertions during a prime-time, nationally televised debate (and then again the next day, during a press conference — thanks for that).

If your penis issues were my only gripe, I wouldn’t be penning this letter, but it is only one of the more recent entries in my long, long list of “things I don’t want my 4-year-old to learn from a presidential hopeful.” Since I have you here, let’s go down some of the list, and perhaps you can bring your behavior level up to my preschooler’s, mkay?

First, enough with the cursing. It isn’t necessary, it’s crass and it demeans the office you’re trying to obtain. I don’t need my kids learning “p*ssy” and “motherf***er” from watching replays of your rallies. You called them “filthy” words, and they are, so stop saying them, please.

More: Why I won't tell my kids who I'm voting for in this election

Second, could you at least try to be kind? I know it’s hard for you to show decency toward anyone, but I like my kids to show empathy to others, and they aren’t going to learn that if they ever watch you. You mocked a disabled reporter. You called a breastfeeding mother “disgusting.” You belittled a prisoner of war (ergo, a veteran) for being captured. I’ve breastfed both my boys — should their president tell them how gross I am? If their father is taken hostage during his next military deployment, should they take comfort in knowing that he’s now less because their president likes “people who weren’t captured”?

While on the topic of kindness, no more name-calling. How can I teach my kids to be respectful when you call anyone who disagrees with you “dummy,” “dopey,” “moron” or a “loser"? I don’t want my boys to think it is appropriate to resort to insults. It isn’t. So quit.

Right now the best lesson you are teaching my kids is how to be a world-class bully. You interrupt people and talk over them. You find an unflattering term and repeat it over and over in hopes it will stick: "low-energy" Jeb Bush. "Little" Marco Rubio. You threaten anyone who crosses you, saying you'll sue or that they'll be sorry or, in the case of Lindsey Graham, you announce their phone number on national television and ask your followers to call (aka harass) them. Bullying is a serious issue for many kids — how do you think it would make them feel to see a presidential candidate behaving the same as their school tormentor?

More: How to stop your child from being the bully

Third, respect. It would be nice of you to give it. I don’t want my boys to believe that a woman will disagree with a man only if she’s on her period, or that black people don’t have a right to attend a presidential rally or that all Mexican immigrants are rapists. One of their best friends is Muslim; I don’t want them to think that he will be deported or, even worse, that he should be.

You want to be president? Act presidential. Act in a way that inspires others — not divides — and is deserving of the office you wish to hold. Every child will learn your name (whether or not their parents voted for you). You will be held up as an example of a leader, someone to emulate, and kids need that example to be worthy of repeating. As a would-be successor to George Washington, respect will come for the office; earn it by being a good man.

More: Teen records her teacher calling her the 'dumbest girl' he ever met

I’m a proud conservative, and I’m terrified of what your brand will do to ours in the eyes of the next generation. We’ve spent decades insisting the GOP isn’t the caricature you make us out to be — racist, sexist and homophobic — and then here comes Trump, basically guaranteeing no one will ever want to identify as a Republican again.

I know these things will be hard for you; dignity goes against most everything you’ve stood for in your life. But the man who managed to convince three separate women to marry Donald J. Trump can surely dig deep for the next few months and at least pretend to have values.

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