Dr. Amy Stark
Child Psychologist, Author & Speaker
Teaching Families How to Live Divorced
and Self-Esteem for Girls and Boys
Food For Thought
Talking to Your Kids About Justice and Human Rights
There are many images on television and the internet that are hard for adults to comprehend, much less children. I have encouraged parents to minimize television contact for their much younger children. For children of school age, they are asking their parents why people are protesting and what the stealing is all about. It is confusing for them.
Some of my younger patients know that a black man was killed by police. They do not understand all the implications, but most certainly know 'it was bad and wrong'. They are grappling with the thought that police would do this when police are supposed to protect you. It’s important for them to know we need to change this. All police are not bad, this was bad. We cannot treat someone differently because of the color of their skin or their religion or their gender. Here are a few ways to talk to your children about justice and human rights.
· Discuss the issues in language appropriate to your child's age. Younger school age children often do not notice race. They recognize who is nice to them and how friends play with them.
· Discuss your values so your children understand. Do not assume, since you are watching it on TV together, that they know how to process this or what values they should be learning. Be open to challenging your own beliefs.
· Parents can emphasize that we all need to treat everyone fairly and with kindness.
· Parents can share that we have a right to protest, what that means, and that standing up for what is right and fair is important. Parents also need to think about how they feel about the looting and destruction of business. Many of these businesses are owned by families who have worked a lifetime to get their business going. We should be careful not to link up looting with protesting.
For older teens, they already have opinions. Listen to what they say and how they are coming up with their conclusions. You might be surprised with how fair their thinking is. They will know Black Lives Matter and have very clear thoughts and ideas about it. Let them talk to you and be open to hearing about it and how your family can help change this country to one that is fairer, kinder, more equal and tolerant.
Dr. Stark's Web site is not intended to take the place of a court-ordered advice or the advice of another professional. Although you may use the input found here to your best advantage, we recommend that you do so in conjunction with the work that you are doing with your individual therapist. Remember: this Web site is not therapy; it's knowledge and support.
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