Ms. Hester is Content Specialist with Contemporary OB/GYN and Contemporary Pediatrics.
Recent events have highlighted how racism and discrimination harms many. The American Academy of Pediatrics has provided some guidance for parents on how to discuss the issue in an age-appropriate matter.
Millions of Americans experience racism every day, and the events over the past 2 weeks have highlighted how that discrimination hurts everyone. The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that racism needs to be dismantled on every level, from the personal to the systemic. The organization also provided guidance so that parents can educate their child on issues surrounding race in an age-appropriate matter.1
The guidance reminds parents that children are always listening. They could be hearing about current events from discussions between parents, videos on YouTube, or even news coverage about the protests. For children who have heard or seen the events, it could lead to fears about their own safety or their family’s safety. Children may also have questions about why black victims like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were killed by the police.
When parents do talk to children about current events, the guidance includes the following tips:
The guidance also states that although discussion is important, action is also a necessary component to combat racism. It recommends parents consider their biases and then show their child how to respond and interact with people who are different. It also recommends contacting city council members or other local officials and imploring them to advocate for issues that impact people and communities of color. It also recognizes that discussions on racism and race have been common in black households for many years.
1. Heard-Garris N, Dougé J. Talking to children about racism: the time is now. HealthyChildren.org. Updated June 1, 2020. Accessed June 5, 2020. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/emotional-wellness/Building-Resilience/Pages/Talking-to-Children-about-Racism.aspx