The Borten Institute
2020, the year of unpredictability. From a scary deadly virus, to abrupt school closures, to violence in the streets.
It is all very overwhelming for us as adults, but even more so for children. No one would have ever predicted that a taped killing of a man by a police officer, would be played over and over for the world to see.
It is unsettling. That is why it is so important to communicate with children about the violence and unrest they are seeing today.
Below are a few tips about how to talk to children about riots.
1) Be Honest
Images of protest and riots are everywhere and easily available for all to see. Be honest with children about images they are seeing in media. Explain the difference between peaceful protesting and rioting.
2) Be Fair
Explain the why’s, fairly. Inform children that some people are upset about how SOME police officers treat people. But also explain that not all police officers are bad. Protesting and riots are not the only way to ask for change. Talk to your children about other ways to ask for change (voting, email elected officials, signed petitions etc.)
3) Be Cautious
Monitor the amount of exposure children have to the unrest shown in TV and social media. Unfiltered language and media messaging could influence children in way that maybe different from your personal values. Additionally, overexposure can lead to fear and high anxiety in children.
Nikita Borten, M.ED