How to talk about the recent protests with your kids

Published: Jun. 11, 2020 at 4:36 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The recent protests may raise some questions for your children, but it also might be uncharted territory for you to explain.

While children of all ages may not fully understand the protests happening today, chances are they are seeing plenty about it on TV and social media.

“They’re well informed,” said Darryl Hambrick, the interim director of the River Road African American Museum. “I think they have more information… sometimes they may be misinformed because of too much information.”

The local museum director often teaches adults and kids about how history affects us today.

[Kids] are our future. And if we don’t put the right things into our future, then we’re going to end up with some of the things we’re facing today.”

Even some professionals in children’s behavior, like Lori Heroman, think now is a good time to talk about these events with the family.

“It’s important that the things that happen in society and in our families… that we use those as a teaching moment,” said the professional counselor with Family Focus.

Heroman says that one of the best steps to take in conversations like these is to listen.

I think the first thing important to do is to be able to listen, to be honest with children, to validate their feelings, and to have some open discussions about what’s going on in the world,” she said.

She added that before you have conversations like these with your children, it’s important you manage your own anxiety on the topic first. Then, you are more comfortable to listen to their feelings.

And although these may be emotional times for some families, these experts say don’t shy away from the conversation altogether because today’s events could affect your children’s behaviors in years to come.

“There are very important life lessons that can be taught from what’s going on in our country,” said Heroman.

The main thing is we teach them to love each other and to love their parents and to love America… and to love, regardless [of] what has happened in the past, we have the opportunity to correct and fix these things to make this world a better place,” said Hambrick.

Teaching kids to love and understand other people’s differences is a big point for professional Jill Garner at Manners of The Heart because she wants to help kids practice looking beyond and judging appearances.

“While that is very true, that we have differences on the outside, we want to help our children look much deeper than that,” said Garner.

She says listen as your kids question what they’re seeing on their screens and help them navigate through the tough answers that are more than black and white.

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