Talking with your child about difficult topics (i.e., race, disability, sexual minority status)

When talking with a child about hard subjects whether its race, disability, sexual minority status or something else entirely try out the 5 C’s.

  1. Show you C Children respond when they know that you are approaching them from a place of love and admiration for who they are and will become.
  2. Be C What made them say or think that? Why right now?
  3. Encourage C After asking open-ended questions, give them space to answer and let them know that they can always tell you what’s going on in their head.
  4. Provide gentle C If they said something inappropriate, teach them why it wasn’t a good thing to say and collaboratively come up with a better way for them to ask their question or communicate their thoughts in the future or a better context in which to do so.
  5. Celebrate differences. A child can always shock you with a novel thought or question but they are less likely to do so if you have already spent time pointing out differences that they may see in the world, explaining them, and celebrating them. Being different from others is not a bad thing. If the world were all one type of person, what a boring world it would be.

 

Here are some resources to help guide conversations.

Hyperlinks to insert:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2019/11/22/childrens-books-can-help-start-conversation-about-race-parents-have-continue-it/

https://www.parenttoolkit.com/social-and-emotional-development/advice/social-awareness/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-race-and-racism

https://cecr.ed.psu.edu/sites/default/files/Ten%20Tips%20for%20Teaching%20and%20Talking%20to%20Kids%20About%20Race.pdf

What are some ways you have approached difficult topics with your kids?

 

Thank you to Celenia DeLapp, MA for this blog post!

Author:

I am a clinical psychologist with approximately 15 years of experience assessing and treating anxiety and depressive disorders in young children, adolescents, young adults, adults and geriatric populations. I completed a 6-year predoctoral training award at the National Institute of Mental Health, and postdoctoral training at the Anxiety Disorders Center at the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital. From my clinical and research experiences, I have come to see the struggles of many families deciding when to pursue professional help and feeling very lost in the process. I will address several mental health issues that will help educate and empower my readers to make better mental health decisions for themselves. Welcome to my blog! Johanna Kaplan, Ph.D. Disclaimer-This blog is not and cannot be used in replace of formal therapy. This blog is used to inform and educate and is not a form of informal or formal advice.

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