Most American adults, whatever their political leanings, are feeling "significant stress" over the presidential race, according to a survey released last week by the American Psychological Association.
And that survey was taken in August, before Republican Donald Trump was caught on tape talking about groping women.
Parents are not the only ones struggling with this issue. Child psychologists and social workers also are somewhat conflicted — but generally agree it's not appropriate viewing for younger kids. Even some politically astute adults may have had enough by now.
"Debates are for grownups. The purpose and topics of the debate are too sophisticated for kids," said Katherine Dahlsgaard, lead psychologist at the Anxiety Behaviors Clinic at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "What they'll notice is who's fighting and who's interrupting rather than the message behind those behaviors."
The Wednesday debate, with a 9 p.m. start time, is on too late for all but the oldest high schoolers, Dahlsgaard said. "Any child in elementary school should be in bed by then. Middle schoolers, too, should be in bed by 10. The debate is not a moon landing or an Election Night return."
"The commercials both sides are playing, they repeat the language anyway," Kulick said. "We can't shield our children from it. That's why I believe that older children should absolutely sit with their parents and watch the debate.
"Would you rather they let it be interpreted through someone else?"
If that's the route you take as a parent, prepare your kids for possible displays of vitriol, said Mary Karapetian Alvord, a child psychologist who practices in Maryland. Parents need to be very clear that the debates can be unpredictable.
"The levels of aggression and emotion have been ramped up," Alvord said. "Some of it is scary."
In the wake of the previous two debates, several of Alvord's young patients asked her about sexual assault, profanity used by candidate supporters, and how a president could throw an opponent in jail.
"The kids just can't interpret," she said. "It's all so unprecedented."
Dahlsgaard, of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, advises that parents do their best to keep a lid on their own campaign-related anxiety, and, when talking to a child about anything related to the election, stay calm.
"In general, parents can relax," said Dahlsgaard. "Elections come and go, but America is forever."
Tips for parents: The debate and your child