Expert on how to have tough conversations about racial injustice with kids

Local News

Now is the time to have age-appropriate conversations with your children about race, racism and police brutality

(WKBN) – As the protests over the killing of George Floyd continue nationwide, many parents are struggling with how exactly to talk about it with their kids.

Adults are also having difficult conversations about racial injustice.

“It’s a topic we must address and it’s a hard one to address because of the video footage,” said Rania Mankarious, a nationally-recognized family safety expert.

Floyd’s death was caught on camera, setting off a tidal wave of unrest. Many Americans condemned the tragedy.

Experts say now is the time to have very open and honest conversations with your children about race, racism and police brutality.

They say to do it in an age-appropriate manner.

“It’s really complicated because on the one hand, you hear your kids, and see them processing and the questions they’re asking,” Mankarious said. “‘Oh my gosh, the police are bad?’ ‘The police are bad?’ ‘All police are bad?’ No, not all police are bad but we do need to hold them accountable.”

Messages of support for the Black Lives Matter movement have also been airing on TV, including on kids’ networks.

On Monday, Nickelodeon dropped regular programming to instead run a powerful video in honor of George Floyd. It lasted for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the same amount of time Officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck, even as Floyd begged for air and lost consciousness.

The message was met with positivity and backlash.

“They are seeing everything,” Mankarious said. “There’s no hiding them from what’s happening.”

She suggested parents process their own thoughts and feelings before answering their child’s questions.

“We can share our anger, sadness and fear with practical solutions that are meaningful and impactful, and make sure we’re raising a generation of kids that say, ‘This can never and it won’t happen when we’re in charge because we’ve been taught how to think and create solutions.'”

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