How Can I Talk to My Kids about Protests and Riots?
Updated: Jun 1, 2020
There is so much discomfort, grief, heartache, and confusion going on in our world recently.
Many people feel that we should shield our kids from these events to protect them.
I want you to protect your children... But I also want you to raise strong, educated, and compassionate children.
These conversations are complicated but very necessary.
How can I talk to my kids about protests and riots?
Start by asking them what they already know. Kids are SMART, and they pick up on every little detail. When you thought they weren't paying attention, they may have heard bits and pieces on the radio or saw news clips on the television. Please don't assume they do not realize what is going on
Remain calm and collected throughout the entire discussion. Children are sponges. They soak up EVERYTHING you do and say (remember that!)
Let them ask questions. We don't have to have all of the answers, but the first step is merely starting a conversation
Never lie to them about what is going on
Educate them on the difference between rioting and peaceful protesting
Have an open discussion about right versus wrong in these situations
Remind your children that social injustice and discrimination are real. Read books, listen to podcasts, and watch video clips together to educate on real-life social injustice
A great example to discuss is Jane Elliott's "A Class Divided." A day after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, Jane Elliott (a 3rd-grade school teacher), divided her class by eye color (brown versus blue). On the first day, the blue-eyed group received special privileges and excessive praise, while the brown-eyed group wore collars and were made to feel inferior. On the second day, the groups were reversed. The experiment demonstrated that the inferior group performed worse, while the favored group excelled and became somewhat cruel and discriminatory towards the unfavored group.
Remind your children that their safety is your top priority
Let them know that violence is NEVER OK
Talk about the good stuff. Discuss how communities come together during these difficult times
Look into ways to safely take action
Lead by example EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Please remember that knowledge is POWER. Have these difficult conversations with your children today for a better tomorrow. Answer their questions the best way you know how to.
"No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." Nelson Mandela.
Until next time,
*This post is not meant to be political. Its purpose is to help you start conversations at home about what is going on in our world. Its purpose is to spread love, not hate.*