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In your own words: Advice from parents, for parents, about having tough conversations


Summer is off to an unusual start, with serious themes that can make for difficult conversations with children. The death of George Floyd and resulting tensions that underscore the biased treatment of people of color in our country, COVID-19 and public health worries, along with the new requirement to wear masks in public are likely to prompt questions from Kern County’s youngest family members. We asked our readers for advice to share. Here are a few of the answers.


Current events throughout our country can be unsettling. They have local effects too. As a family living in Kern County, how are you talking to the children in your life about important topics? Do you have any advice to share regarding difficult conversations?

I am talking to them and showing them age appropriate documentaries on systemic racism. - Tammy Reynolds

Be prepared to talk and give accurate information. - Peggy Warren

We have been explaining to our kids the importance of the social distancing and washing hands and reason for the quarantine by telling them the truth. This virus is scary and we should do all we can to prevent not only from getting it but spreading it should we be a potential carrier. It's tough on the little ones who want to play with their friends but they understand that now is not the time. We have explained that right now, it's family time and to use this time to hang out and play together, build stronger relationships with our family. - Tishana Debenham

As an ethnic family, we have faced racism and discrimination before. This is something my child has learned about since he was a toddler. We discuss the importance of safety and being connected to family for support. - Lisa Cox

Be honest and keep them up to date with changes, especially about the upcoming school year. - Shirley Petersen

Stay neutral and give them only facts. Explain both sides without bias. Children should be informed and educated, not turned to believe in only one side or the other. This is the only way you can raise children who make smart individual choices. - Maria Richardson

I tell them what is happening and have my children share their thoughts on the events. - Stephanie Sanchez 

We continue to tell our children like we always have, it doesn’t matter what a person looks like, their character is what matters. - Skyler O’Neill

Be honest but don't over share with unnecessary details children don't need to know. Speak matter of factly and offer ways to change or help, and teach your kids that actions speak louder than words. - Sarah Covey

While sitting around the dinner table, we have an opportunity to discuss topics worldwide that are happening and what it actually means. Honest family discussions are important regarding things that go on in our community. Everyone’s opinion is valued and needs to be listened to and heard and appreciated. - Rob Wolosz

I am talking to my child, age appropriately. It is important she knows and realizes what is happening in the US. She knows that love is love, black lives matter and that women’s rights are human rights. I am a librarian, so we read, a lot. - Vanessa De La Cruz

I've been talking to my children about being critical thinkers, forming opinions based on reliable/factual information. I've also discussed how we can make changes the right way and in a positive manner. - Beth Hubbard 

This is an historical time. We must stay informed and educated about what is taking place, like it or not. There have been difficult times in our nation before but we are strong and will overcome these trying times just as we have in the past. - Dawn Miller

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Tags: Featured Story, Parenting

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