Mission CISD shares advice on how to talk to children about recent protests, riots

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Mission, Texas (KVEO)—- Mission Consolidated Independent School District shares and explains how to discuss the recent protests with children.

As cities and social media explode with new information, worried parents and guardians struggle with the question on how to properly explain to children what is going on.

“As adults, we may experience an increase in worry, anger, and sadness which our children can easily notice causing them some distress as well.” said a post written by the district. “Adults may also experience confusion and may not be able to answer all of our children’s questions and that’s OK. ”

Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”

The district says the following tips, that were taken from various web sources, may be useful to assist parents when they begin to have open conversations with their children about the current social issues. 

Be Open and Honest

Educate kids about the reality that some people get treated differently or unfairly based on the color of their skin, culture, or religion. By doing this we will help them prepare to challenge these issues as they arise. Be very careful about passing on your own biases and prejudices before kids even understand the concept of racism.

Explain what “protest” means if developmentally appropriate for your child 

By approximately 7 year of age, your child has developed the ability to understand the concept of “protest”. Educate them about the right for Americans to have their own opinion and voice it publicly.  However, there is also a responsibility to respect the opinions of others.  Typically, the goal of non-violent protests is to inspire positive social change and protection of human rights.  Sometimes individuals make poor choices and react aggressively because of strong feelings they may have at the time.  Nevertheless, it’s OK to protest in a friendly way. 

Prepare for the conversation

Know what terms to use: Racial injustice, social injustice, racial differences, racism, racial violence, police brutality. Be prepared to listen as much as you talk. 

Assuring your child’s physical safety is top priority

Letting them know that while images, thoughts of looting and rioting are very scary, the reality is that the areas in which they are occurring are typically limited. Focus on the opportunity to discuss change in the country and how your family can be a part of the change for good.

Model it 

Talk to your child about respecting differences and treating everyone the way we would like to be treated. Acknowledge differences and emphasize positive aspects of those differences.  Encourage your child to talk about what makes them different and discuss how those differences may have helped or hurt them in the past. Similarities between individuals may become more evident and thus more powerful. 

Do something 

Take a stand when you witness injustice. This is the time to help our children grow into adults who value and honor diversity.

For teens – keep talking 

Use current issues from the news, as a springboard for discussion. Ask your teen what they think about the issues. Discuss the importance of valuing differences is essential, but modeling this message is even more vital. Evaluate your own circle of friends or the beliefs you hold about certain groups of people.

Encourage activism – Promote ways for your family to get involved in causes you care about.

Fore more information, visit the district’s website here.

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