NewsAmerica in Crisis


Parents seek help on how to teach children about race

'Modeling how we interact with the world is hugely important,' psychotherapist says
Posted at 9:00 AM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 09:02:06-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As parents watch news of protests unfold, they're asking questions -- and so are their children -- about race relations. Specifically, what they can teach and how.

"Modeling how we interact with the world is hugely important," Sharon Frederick, a licensed psychotherapist, said. "You can have parents that smoke and say to their children don't smoke, but those children will smoke because they are watching your behavior."

Caley Kukla, a parent educator and child behavior specialist, bases her work with children on empathy. She said to first have a conversation with yourself.

"Babies start showing a preference for the person's color based on the color of their caregivers at 6 months," she said. "If we think our children don't notice, we are telling ourselves our own story."

Therapists said for young kids, you should acknowledge differences. Use books and multi-cultural toys. You can even use a simple box of crayons as an analogy. If you only used a white crayon, your drawing would be bland.

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"Every crayon in the box has it's place and purpose and that adds to the picture," Frederick said.

Dr. Dudley Brown, a popular OBGYN, is also a father and invested in being part of the conversation.

"What makes us different is what makes us special and we are better together," he said.

Sarah Weinstein, a mother of two and administrator of Jupiter Mamas Facebook page, said she is trying that approach.

"I always say, everyone comes in different shapes, sizes and colors, and that's what makes everyone so unique," she said.