Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Talking to your kids ‘around’ current events.

Quite frequently there are topics in the news that prompt rigorous dinner table discussion. While some of the news items are not children-appropriate; many times there are general concepts you can pull from the story to make it relevant to your family. There is a recent story getting a lot of publicity and generating considerable outrage. This blog is not intended to get into the ‘right or wrong’ of those issues, but instead to help generate ideas that stimulate healthy conversation.
It is important to encourage conversation around judging too quickly, stereotyping and how we perceive people. We have all been guilty of judging too quickly. Talk to your kids about the hazards of this and the importance of gaining more information about someone or getting to know them better before making hasty decisions about who they are or what their background might be. Help them understand what a stereotype is and how harmful stereotypes can be. Get your child to think about how they would feel if someone made snap judgments about them based on superficial traits or characteristics.  You can demonstrate this to an extreme by saying “What if someone didn’t like you because of the freckle on your left cheek and didn’t like ALL people with freckles on their left cheek? That would be ridiculous wouldn’t it?” This is so ludicrous it helps to demonstrate a strong and valid point.
As a result of the incident in Florida, people are showing both their support and dismay in a variety of ways. You can use this story as an opportunity to talk about expressing passion, both thoughts and emotions, and what it means to stand for a cause you feel is important. What subjects ignite a spark in your child? Is it human or animal rights? Environmental or political concerns? Is it the current economy or perhaps the upcoming presidential elections? By encouraging your child to take appropriate action for causes they believe in, teaches them compassion and leaves them feeling empowered.  As parents, the most effective way to demonstrate healthy communication and standing up for what you believe in is to role model the same yourself.
For other great tips about talking to your kids call… 1-800-CHILDREN(800-244-5373) or e-mail 
 Sarah@FamiliesFirstColorado.org . For support in Spanish please call 1-866-LAS FAMILIAS.  Both Family Support Lines offers parenting tips, resources and information only and does not serve as legal or mental health advice.

1 comment:

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