How To Talk To Kids About Racial Violence | KERA News

How To Talk To Kids About Racial Violence

Aug 26, 2016

All week as North Texas students returned to school, we’ listened in on conversations about race with parents, teachers and students. On Think -- as part of KERA’s American Graduate series “The First Week” -- Krys Boyd spoke to a panel of child psychologists about ways to help young people process the racial violence that occurred across the country this summer.

The KERA Interview

Summer Rose, a psychologist for Momentous Institute on

… when to start the conversation:

“There are some things that you have to think about when deciding when you want to introduce these ideas and these beliefs and actions to your children. One of which is where else might they hear it. Are they going to a neighborhood elementary school where that might be talked about at school?  Do they have older siblings who are going to have more exposure via technology … let that kind of lead the conversation about when you need to start it. If that’s your child’s reality then you might need to start having it whether or not your child is three or 13.”

… why it’s important to have the conversation:

“It probably is not the best idea just to assume that they’re OK. They’re not asking the questions. They’re not wondering about it. They’re not having these experiences. Because as a parent you want your voice to be the loudest in your child’s head, not that of Facebook, not that of Twitter and Instagram.”

Betsy Kennard, a psychologist at UT Southwestern on

 … teaching children about family values:

“It’s a great time to express your family values and how important it is to stand up for what you think is right and how protesting is not a bad thing … It’s a good time to mold your child into being the kind of person you want them to be, which is tolerant and kind of an advocate for other people.”  

… talking about the Dallas Shootings:   

“What happened in Dallas started out as a very important thing with the police there in present, and telling kids there are times when someone goes off and makes a wrong choice and hurts people. It’s OK to be angry. It’s not OK to hurt people. It’s not okay to say things that are hurtful to people.”