Parent Resources for Discussing Race and Racial Injustice
There 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:
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.
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.
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 …”.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Penn Graduate School of Education,Talking to children after racial incidents
- Sound Cloud, Supporting Kids Of Color In the Wake Of Racialized Violence
- CNN, How to talk to your children about protests and racism
- USA Today, How to talk to kids about racism, racial violence and police brutality
How to talk to your children about race & racism
- National Geographic, Talking to kids about race
- Bounce Back Parenting: 60+ Resources for talking to kids about Racism
- The Atlantic, How to talk to kids about Race (video)
- Parent Tool Kit: How to talk to kids about race and racism
- Kids in the House: Tips for Teaching Kids about Racism (video)
- Teaching Tolerance:Beyond the golden rule: A parent’s guide to preventing and responding to prejudice (PDF)
- Media Smarts: Talking to kids about racial stereotypes (PDF)
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
- Houston Chronicle: How to talk with your kids about police, race, protests
- Ahaparenting.com: Talking With Children About Racism, Police Brutality and Protests
- Kids Meet A Cop (Video)