The inhumanity and injustice are out of control, and our children are watching! And, if you’re honest, you’re not quite sure what to say, right?
We’ve told our child to ignore the color of a person’s skin because we’re all alike. And now we know that’s far from enough. So, what do you say to your kids?
I’m writing this as they televise George Floyd’s funeral on TV. I’m sure your kids have asked to talk about it. What’s the right thing to say, and how can you set the tone going forward? As I said the other day, I won’t pretend to have the answer for this, but I will bring you those who do have answers.
With that in mind, today I bring you, Dr. Janet Taylor. and her interview on Good Morning America.
Links and url’s at the bottom.
How to Talk to Kids about Race and Protests
Host: What’s the youngest age you should talk to your kids about these difficult topics?
“As important as it is to talk about difficult topics like racism, which we know has existed for a long time, when kids are three or four, as a child of color, they will have experienced some incidents, whether it’s a classmate that says something or a teacher. So, whether we know or not as parents, it’s happening. So, what we can do is expose our children, of all colors, to books that have characters that are black. Listen to their conversations. And when your child has says that something happened to them because of the color of their skin or because of their hair texture, we need to listen, and we need to show them that we are doing something about it. It doesn’t mean being angry, but showing them in a calm, thoughtful way about how to handle an insult or a slight, especially with other adults, to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. We can no longer ignore the pain that racism causes to our children.”
Host: Is there ever a situation where you’d shield your child from talking about race?
“I would never recommend that you shield your child from racism as a topic. Because as important as it is, the conversation about racism, it’s about anti-racism. That means we teach our kids not that we are all alike, but that we can have the same values. Our differences can suggest beauty; our differences can be something that we learn. So, when there is an incident that is unfair when there is an incident when someone tries to use their power in a way that is destructive, we need to address it as a teachable moment.
Host: In terms of those teachable moments, how can parents explain to their children about their race and about other races?
“Well, one way is to stop using the word race. Which we know is a social construct; it’s a meaningless term. Talk about their ancestry, their history, their culture, how they see themselves in terms of their ethnic origin.”
Quote by Dr. Taylor
“Talk about the reality kids are witnessing, as difficult and painful as that may be.”
Don’t sugarcoat it.
This was a horrible event and your kids see you paying attention to it. Your kids can tell when you’re holding something back, or when you aren’t completely honest. When a child feels that something is being hidden from them, they become anxious. When they hear your honesty and feel your authenticity, even if you say, “I don’t know.” They can accept that.
Mistakes will happen.
Accept that you’ll stumble over your words, and that’s okay. It shows your kids that there are times in life when adults need to learn new ways to communicate, too.
When you do make a mistake, own it
When a parent owns an “adult” mistake, it shows a child how to own mistakes and make changes.
Be honest, but age-appropriate
Use the names of the people who’ve been killed, instead of merely referring to them as the person who was killed. That shows your child that you pay attention to what’s happening to those you’re connected too, even if you’re not related to them.
Dr. Janet Taylor on Good Morning America
Resources from Dr. Taylor
Embrace race.org—More talking points for parents
A Snowy Day, by Ezra Keith. #1 most checked out children’s book on diversity in NY.
More Children’s Books
20 Black Picture books that aren’t about boycotts busses or basketball.
5 Racist Anti-Racism Response “Good” White Women Give to Viral Post—KatyKatiKate
* This article was eye-opening for me. I’m guilty of saying some of these things without thinking, and I am listening.
Now, Go hug your kids!