I’ve been receiving many calls from parents feeling anxious, overwhelmed and helpless lately. We live in a beautifully diverse country with people from all different cultures and backgrounds. Many are concerned about their mental health and wellbeing, while many others are wondering how to best support their friends and loved ones given the current climate.
Here are some ways we can show up for our children right now:
- Becoming trauma informed. When people witness violence, injustice, are ignored, silenced or told that they are not valued, it is traumatic. This form of trauma is different from other forms in that it is relentless, persistent and present for many people from their earliest memories. Acknowledging this with an open heart and mind, and becoming aware of its impact is important.
- Make empathy and equity a habit. Have regular discussions with your children about bullying and what they should do when they themselves are bullied, witness bullying or become the bully. Have the uncomfortable conversations at home and make an action plan for when a situation might arise. What will your child do when they witness injustice against a friend?
- Becoming culturally competent parents and educators takes time and real effort. It takes a real look at our own values and biases (and each of us have them) and working on them whenever they show up. Ensuring our children are exposed to books, toys and media that have stories and heroes from different backgrounds is important. Have a look at the things you expose your children to.
- Research together as a family. With so much going on all around us, you can pick a topic together as a family to research and become better informed. This could mean watching a movie or a documentary about it, or simply doing research on the internet or from your local library (when open of course).
- Donate to the causes your family is discussing. Getting children involved even at a very early age can show them the value of action. Setting up a donation box at home and collecting change is a great way to encourage children to give. Lead by example. Just like learning good manners, children will learn to give and care for the world around them when they see that you do.
Educating ourselves and then passing on that information to our children is the first step, and the earlier we teach this to our younger generations, the better.
Kindness has to be our new normal.
If you are interested in exploring resources (lists of books, websites or causes to donate to) to continue to promote diversity and inclusion in your home, please feel free to reach out and I would be happy to provide you with a list of resources. And if your family is experiencing fear or anxiety, please reach out to your support network, therapist, or book an appointment with me.