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make space to listen

The ongoing social injustices and political uproar that persists in our society are difficult to grapple with, and the events over the last couple of days have left many of us in a state of sadness, anger or disbelief. As parents, caregivers, and educators the struggle with how to address these events with our children and teens is real. How do we talk with young people about what’s happening when we can barely explain these events to ourselves?

The most important thing we can do is make space for young people to share their thoughts and feelings about these events and to truly listen to what they are saying - both with their words and their behaviors. Encourage them to express their concerns, hopes or fears and make time to answer their questions honestly. You don’t have to wait until you have it all “figured out.” In fact, to be able to say “I don’t know” or to include young people in the process of sorting out your own feelings and reactions is an important way for us to model the value of talking things through even when we don’t have the answers.

Checking in with each other when personal, social, and political trauma occurs is a meaningful act of care and a responsibility we all share, especially when it comes to our young people. Checking in with kids, making space for conversation, and actively listening to what they are saying with their words and their behavior can make a difference in how they process and cope with their experiences during these unprecedented times.

Please check out the following resources on how to approach the current events with children:

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