Parent Survival: Talking to kids about racism and bias
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - With all of the tragic current events dealing with race lately many parents may be trying to sort out the feelings and questions their kids might have.
Psychotherapist Ashley Bryant says it can be hard to start the conversation about racism with kids.
She says some people shy away from talking about a subject they don’t really feel comfortable with.
You can start the conversation by first asking your child what they think racism is.
“Then as a parent you can engage in educational activities where you come together and research what racism is and start having that conversation,” Bryant said.
She says it’s good for parents to start talking about the subject of racial bias as soon as a child is able to verbally notice differences in people. Studies show by the age of 5 kids start to learn about racial differences and bias.
From the ages of 6 to 11 kids are able to express their feelings and are eager for answers.
”So we can talk about differences in people and talk about it in a way where we embrace the differences and incorporate that conversation into racism,” Bryant said.
In addition to being open to your child’s questions about race, she says also teach kids to recognize and celebrate people’s uniqueness and differences.
”I would start by introducing them to other cultures and experiences this can be done by cuisine by art projects or cultural festivals and having conversations about these particular events,” Bryant said.”They take notice of when we are kind and when we are not kind .They take notice. Children are watching the things we do and don’t do.”
Bryant says in helping your child recognize and confront racial bias, you should also first consider your own bias that you might have. She says by taking the opportunity to challenge racism, you’re teaching kids to show love and be the best person they can be.
She says you’re also teaching kids to stand up for every person’s right to be treated with dignity and respect.
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