TRI-CITIES, WA - As protests over the death of George Floyd continue nationwide, children may have a better understanding of the situation than adults realize. Now may be the time for parents to have an important conversation with their kids.
Valerie Kirk, Counselor with Canyon Lakes Counseling, shares her advice for parents wanting to have an open conversation with children about racism and police brutality.
Here are Kirk's key takeaways for parents:
- Kids tend to model parents' actions and feelings about situations in society.
- Young children look to parents on how to react, respond and feel about certain situations and life in general. If the parent is upset, angry, anxious, depressed, excited, happy etc., the child will likely mirror these emotions.
- Effective conversations are age-appropriate.
- Not all children will understand the situation when explained in an adult way.
- Children are still forming their core values and worldview.
- In the early years, kids' values and views will likely mirror what has been observed in their parents. These views or values may change as each child grows up and gains life experience.
- Keep in mind, their views may change as kids reach late teens/adulthood.
- As a child reaches adulthood, these values and views may begin to differ from parents. It is important for parents to be accepting of these differences as this is essential for autonomy - becoming an individual separate from the parent(s).