Parent Resources for Discussing Race and Racial Injustice

speech bubble iconThere is no perfect script, guide, or video to effectively address the complexities of race and racial injustice. Each child, family, and situation is unique. Dialogue between parents and children is crucial, regardless of background or experience. Below are talking points to help navigate difficult conversations:

  1. Start with the facts. Conversations regarding prejudice, racism, social justice can be heavy, uncomfortable, and even painful. It is important that you begin with factual information instead of personal opinion or media coverage. Factual information will allow for the initial discussion to begin without personal bias. 

  2. Be proactive by speaking up. Children find out information from television, social media, and friends. To reduce your child’s opinion being shaped by outside influences, please be proactive in creating a safe space for your child to ask questions and discuss serious issues with you or another trusted family member. 

  3. Empathize. It is extremely important to express humility, empathy, and compassion. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes without actually being in them. Regardless of your personal experience, it is imperative that we imagine what it might be like for someone else. For example, “I wonder what that experience would be like for…” or  “I wonder what fears or triggers this brings for …”.

  4. Allow your children to speak freely and be heard. They have feelings, they need a safe space to process how they are feeling, and what they are thinking. Encourage children to express their raw emotions, and let them know you understand how they feel regardless of whether or not you agree.

  5. Continue to model and teach your children healthy social-emotional skills to be able to verbally express feelings. This is not a one-time conversation. These conversations can naturally occur if you’re paying attention to your child’s statements and staying aware of ways that unconscious bias can slip in.

  6. Be an ally and advocate. Check on your friends and family. They may be experiencing compounded grief and trauma associated with recent events and COVID-19.

Icon of a parent talking to a childParent resources

See below for additional resources to assist you in communicating with your children after disturbing social and racial events occur.

How to talk to your children about racial events

How to talk to your children about race & racism

How to talk to your children about the news

Books to help your child during stressful times

How to talk to your children about police and protests