How to talk to kids about racism and violence

How to talk to kids about racism and violence

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Racism and violence are back in the headlines after recent events in Charlottesville, leaving parents wondering how to approach these topics with their kids.

Talking with children about events like racism, hate, or tragedy can be difficult, but it is necessary.

"It's our responsibility to teach children how to relate to the people around them and to realize that we have to have these conversations and bring them up into that so that they see that we welcome them into becoming young adults," said Dr. Brian Carr, a licensed psychologist.

Psychologists say social learning teaches us that kids respond to the environment, and if there is hate or aggression around them, kids can become more aggressive or tolerant to hate.

With the 24/7 news cycle we have, children are exposed to constant information.

Dr. Carr says good parenting starts with good communication.

"I think the important thing about talking with children is that you create an inviting atmosphere that says let's talk about things," Carr said. "And you as a parent, work to translate it down to a level where they can understand it."

And sometimes, it's not about talking at all.

"I think a good way to start is to realize it may involve talking, but a whole lot more of that is listening - so sit there and draw your child out and really see what their concerns are," Carr said.

After hearing their concerns, Carr says it is important to offer them the reassurance they need.

"The younger the child is, to offer them reassurance that no matter how chaotic the world may seem that in the home it's safe, that I'm going to take care of you. We're gonna get through this, please come ask me questions."

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