Talking to Children About Charlotte's Protests and Violence

Advice From Our Charlotte Parent Editor


Image provided by Shutterstock

Our own Queen City is in turmoil. A tragic event has emotions running high enough to cause a backlash of tense protesting. The shooting that occurred Tuesday in Charlotte placed North Carolina on a notorious map outlining the growing division between law enforcement and communities they serve. 

While we can, as parents, limit our children's exposure to the media in an effort to protect them from some of the harshest scenes and coverage, when it hits so close to home, the news literally becomes the talk of the town. So, how to we address these sensitive issues with our children as well as use them as a way to help mold our children into the people we aspire them to become? 

Michele Huggins, editor of our sister magazine Charlotte Parent who also lives in Charlotte, wrote a poignant piece that is well worth the read. In a description of what it is like to parent young children in the midst of the chaos, she shares these basic points:

1. When your child brings it up — or someone around you — use the moment as a gateway for discussion.

2. Stick to facts and keep it simple, using terms that are age-appropriate.

3. Explain that fact-gathering is still happening and the full, true story is not yet complete.

4. Discuss and validate feelings.

5. Use the topic as a gateway into a discussion on how to handle anger, conflict and other strong emotions.

6. Listen and respond accordingly. If they want to talk more, talk. If they have feelings to share, let them share. If they have questions, acknowledge and answer them. If they need some alone time, let them have some space.

"Over and over, I have seen our community come together and address tough and divisive issues productively. I believe this community has the will and ability to do this now. Please join me in showing our children and the nation we can stand together peacefully." ~Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Ann Clark 

To read Huggins' article, click here

We are hopeful that the unrest in our neighbor city will soon settle, the conflicts will be successfully resolved and our children, with our guidance, will grow in thoughtful peace and harmony. 

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