While the world is going through a racial crisis amidst a global pandemic many are experiencing feelings of anger, uncertainty, and sadness. I feel as a parent, it is important to start the conversations with your children that allow them to get a better understanding of our community issues, and how they can safely involve themselves in creating change.
TAKE A BREATHER
As a family we have decided to limit our social media and news intake to quiet our minds and take a moment to breathe and process. I have already given them the tools they need in the form of meditation, yoga, and stretching to release stress. So just allowing that space for everyone to process their own emotions or light candles and sit in silence for those that we have lost is helpful.
HAVE A DISCUSSION AND ANSWER ALL THEIR QUESTIONS
Having open and honest conversations with them was very refreshing, because they don't live with the same trauma that we as adults do, so their perspective is different. From their perspective they are simply observing and thinking. It impressed me to see that instead of reacting to everything they were seeing on the news and internet, they were instead watching and showing me the positive things that they were gravitating to. We have also been discussing their solutions to the issues within our communities and discrimination. We teach our children that change starts within first. They understand that you can not change the world without changing yourself.
Allow them to create different things to help cope with the current social climate weather it is centered around the things going on with COVID or social injustice. Our children love to create artwork as a form of self expression. Michaels and Hobby Lobby are great places to buy painting canvas, sketch books, and other supplies for creativity. Plus these places always have sales and coupons. We have allowed them to create drawings, paintings, and even clothing that allows them to express themselves regarding the current state of humanity. In lieu of drawing or painting, you can also help your children write their own poems, songs, or stories to help them express how they feel as well.
Allow your children to volunteer their time to organizations that need assistance spreading the word about upcoming events and/or virtual conversations. If you are concerned about exposing your children to crowds of people, you may be able to find other ways that your children can volunteer their time. Something as simple as picking up informational flyers and putting them in doors or passing them out in your neighborhood may be helpful. Also helping to share content via social media, getting their group of friends involved in online discussions, or spreading awareness via their own social media can be helpful. I suggest that when you have a discussion with them that you both are open to listening to each other. Knowing exactly how your child feels and their ideas of how they want to be involved are important to them, so listening with the deep intent to understand and be helpful is always a plus. It is just as equally important that you are able to explain your concerns and that you are able to come to an agreement on how they can be safe in their desire to protest, volunteer, or work for organizations during this time.
I hope that some of these suggestions have been helpful. These are unique times that we are living in, so your response to these issues will need to be unique. Know, that you are not the first parent to go through a pandemic, economic crisis, or protest due to social injustice. Now is a great time for open dialogue with your children especially if they are older. If they are still very young, you can still find ways to have talks by playing games with them, reading them books, or just answering any questions that they have in a way that they can understand. If you have any of your own suggestions drop your comments below.