Let me just be upfront and say, kids know far more than we think.
I am often amazed at what my 10-year-old son knows. I mean, kids talk and he often knows more about things that happen outside this house through his peers.
With that being said, with everything going on today in Washington D.C. your kids likely are asking questions.
How do I know? Because mine are.
After school today my son got onto Xbox to game with his friends and he came up to me and said, “Mom, what is going on right now?” and I replied, “What do you mean?”
He said, “I heard there are riots and stuff going on in Washington and wondered what it was all about.”
Well, I will be honest and say, I was NOT mentally prepared to answer this question today but I took a deep breath and explained what was happening.
No, I didn’t lie to him because why would I?
I told him what was happening and how it’s a very troubling day for everyone.
I didn’t get political and I didn’t choose sides but I gave facts. Facts like people are rioting, causing damage to public buildings and hurting one another.
I also corrected some of the information he had heard through his friends so he understood correctly.
Because he needs to know.
Now, this may not be every parent’s approach but in our household we believe in trust and transparency rather than sheltering them or leaving them to learn these important topics on their own.
I actually found a really good article that was written by the New York Times regarding a matter similar to this.
In it, Meagan Patterson, an educational psychologist at the University of Kansas, said that centering political conversations around values can be a good framework for helping to make seemingly abstract political concepts “more understandable and manageable for kids.” and she talked about how to approach conversations like this with kids.
Your kids also may be getting skewed information from their peers that needs to be corrected. By talking to them about their misconceptions, you’re not only building their knowledge, but also “modeling critical engagement with information,” she said.
This doesn’t mean you need to sit your children down for a formal lecture on U.S. politics. But at least let them know that you’re there if they have any questions. You don’t have to “totally guide the conversation” or “have all the answers,” Dr. Patterson said. “Give them some space to ask questions, to talk about what they’ve heard from other places.”New York Times
And that is EXCELLENT advice.
No need to give the kids all the information, the answers or try to persuade their feelings one way or another but we can still be proactive in talking to our kids about things like this.
More importantly, we can listen to them and their feelings.
Because again, it’s likely they already know from their peers.
So, although today was a tough day that I was not prepared for, I think it went well all considering.
And if you are needing to talk to your kids about everything going on in the world, I hope this helps!