For parents, discussions about race and racism can be challenging. Still, it’s important to have conversations about this critical topic. The American Psychological Association (APA) explains that when you talk about race and ethnicity:
- Children are more respectful of other groups and less likely to incorrectly judge others.
- Children learn to recognize and appropriately respond to racially-charged situations.
- Self-esteem grows, because children are less vulnerable to developing a negative-self concept. They have a better understanding of their own (and others’) race, ethnicity and overall identity.
As children’s first influence, parents play a crucial role in guiding their understanding through healthy communication about race.
From an early age, children begin to notice and wonder about differences. If you feel unprepared, hesitant, or unsure how to begin this conversation with your kids, here’s a helpful resource.
Equity Resource for Parents
The APA has launched a series of resources for parents on Uplifting Youth Through Healthy Communication About Race. It includes strategies for discussing race and ethnicity through literature, a list of powerful children’s books that explore these topics, tips for engaging children of all ages in conversations about race (and why it’s important), a blog series, additional recommended resources and more. Many of these tips and tools are great for teachers too!
Check out the APA’s resources on healthy communication about race here: https://www.apa.org/res/parent-resources/.
Equity and SEL
Conscious Discipline is deeply committed to the belief that trauma-responsive social and emotional learning is a lens through which transformational change in the areas of racial equality, equity and inclusion is not only possible, but essential.
Social and emotional learning (SEL) can be a powerful lever for advancing equity. It emphasizes empathy, inclusion and unity. Children who practice SEL skills learn to manage their feelings, examine other perspectives, and improve their communication and problem-solving abilities. SEL helps create caring, healthy communities that support each individual in reaching their fullest potential.
However, SEL alone isn’t enough to resolve longstanding inequities. It’s vital to directly promote equity, listen and learn from one another, and have discussions that feel challenging or uncomfortable. We hope that this resource (and the others we share) will support parents and teachers in starting the conversation.