PALMYRA, Pa. (WHTM) — With months of protests and reports of police brutality, it can be difficult to talk to kids about what’s going on around in the country. Some therapists are getting a lot of questions about how to start those conversations, especially within interracial families.
The Howards, who live in Palmyra, talk about race every day.
“It basically comes down to my son,” said Christine Howard.
It can be emotional.
Christine and her husband James started having conversations about being an interracial family with their son Logan when he was seven. He’s now 14, and with calls for change dominating the headlines and social media, conversations at the dinner table have intensified.
“It’s been a little tough,” said Christine Howard. “It’s actually gotten to a point when we try not to watch the news too much.”
“Understanding there are certain areas you don’t go to, or that you have to be careful of or aware of,” said James Howard. “In order to survive, get by and enjoy the world, you need to be aware of who you are, where you come from and what people might be thinking of you.”
Social worker and author Anne Evans-Cazier recommends when parents in interracial families discuss current events, they start with simple stories about themselves.
“Did they meet at a company? How did they end up at the same company? They might have had different pathways there,” said Evans-Cazier. “So all of these stories about their families and personal experiences reflect our cultural themes.”
Evans-Cazier says parents don’t have to be on the same page about everything in the political sphere.
Teaching children you can love and respect people that disagree is important too.
“The more kids know about their own history, that helps them be more resilient through whatever’s happening now,” said Evans-Cazier.
“Right now, there’s awareness in the world,” said James Howard.”I’m not happy about the violence and maybe the destruction, but I’m happy that people are aware of what’s going on and there is a push toward change.”
While the Howards admit it’s not always easy, they encourage positive, constructive discussions.
“You live it every day, so you want people to ask you questions,” said Christine Howard. “Even if you don’t have the answer, at least you could research and find it.”
“Everyone is uncomfortable, so let’s deal with it now so you don’t have to have it later,” said James Howard. “Maybe by time my son has a son or a daughter or whatever, that they wont have to deal with as much as he’s going to have to deal with, and hopefully he doesn’t have to deal with as much as I’ve dealt with.”
Evans-Cazier gives more advice about how to have these kinds of discussions in the video below.