Developed by HRI Program Coordinator, Camila Dos Santos, M.Ed.
Parents of young children know that they see and hear more than we think they do. For this reason, it can be helpful to start by asking your child questions to understand their perspective. Parents will want to know if their children have experienced or witnessed racism and racial injustices firsthand in order to respond appropriately in the conversation. Depending on your child’s perspective, they may ask different questions or want to discuss certain issues.
Rather than introducing a conversation with your own talking points, try starting the discussion by asking your child questions such as, “What do you know about this?”, or, “What would you like to know about what you saw on TV or heard so-and-so say?”
Sometimes, as parents, the most educational experiences we can have are when we sit and listen to our children’s feelings and thoughts. Check out this HRI resource on attentive listening to help you ensure that you are actively listening when they answer your questions: https://healthyrelationshipsinitiative.org/model-active-listening/.
When we allow our children the space to answer and ask questions without judgment, we can have meaningful and impactful discussions about many topics, especially racism and how to stop it. Further, children who engage in these discussions grow up to be confident and empathetic adults that have the potential to change their world for the better.