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  • Carol Swartout Klein

How to talk to your kids about civil unrest

By Kurt Greenbaum


In the aftermath of events that make your children question some of their most basic needs and personal safety, your children will surely have questions - some that they share and others they internalize - about their wellbeing, that of their family and friends, the events the precipitated the unrest and what's to come.

Just as before, be sure to reassure children that they are safe, and that schools are a safe place for them to be. In fact, your school has probably shared information about its emergency procedures. Talking about those with your child can assure them that their school is prepared and is a safe place. Beyond that, there are key messages you can share, in an age-appropriate way, with children who have seen images of, and now the results of, looting, arson and vandalism.

  • Acknowledge that it is hard to understand why the violence has occurred and that people sometimes do bad things that hurt other people.

  • Counsel that violence is never the right answer to getting positive change in a community.

  • Note to your children that the actions of a few people should not reflect on everyone. Legitimate protesters do not loot businesses or set them on fire. The vast majority of police officers want to serve their community and protect its residents.

The Ferguson-Florissant School District compiled an additional list of resources for parents on this page, which links to resources for a variety of community service agencies.

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