Tips for talking to your kids about race, gender, queer, and disability identities.
Kids ask questions. It is one thing that is dependable about them. If you have a chance to think about them before hand you can be prepared, but if you’ve already stumbled through some questions and answer sessions, it is ok. You can always come back to it. Try opening the conversation with “Remember when you asked me about ________? Well I have been thinking about that question and ____________”
I saved you the trouble, time, and energy by compiling some resources below. Some are for you, specifically, but some can be viewed together with your child. A short video can be a great way to introduce a topic and open a conversation. Remember, it is ok to say “I don’t know” but it is best to follow it with “I am going to try to find out and get back to you.”
Know this: kids learn all kinds of stereotypes and myths about people from t.v., music, in books, from other kids, and by overhearing adult conversation. It is better for them to work through these with you than for them to grow up believing these negative ideas.
Making statements like “I used to think ________, but then I came to understand that ________” helps to convey that we all are wrong sometimes but that we can all actively deepen our understanding, and having more understanding can help us be more compassionate.
NOTE: The resources provided below are just the tip of the iceberg. None of them provide a complete reference to an issue. But they can be used to get you started in thinking about how you want to approach these topics with your kids.
5 Ways Parents Pass Down Prejudice and Racism by Danielle Slaughter, posted on Huffington Post
Rubbing Off– Allison Briscoe-Smith explains how kids learn about race—and how their parents can foster tolerance.
Teaching Tolerance: how white parents should talk to their young children about race by Melinda Wenner Moyer
How to Talk to Your Children About Gay Parents, By A Gay Parent by Jerry Mahoney
Talking to Kids About ‘Gay ‘by Amelia, posted on Huffington Post
Welcoming Schools has some possible responses written up for common kid questions and comments about sexuality, including…
- Can girls marry each other?
- Why would two men want to get married?
- How can two women have children? Don’t you need a dad?
You can find them by going to welcoming schools.org, clicking the “resources” tab, then clicking “answering challenging questions”
***TIP!*** Welcoming Schools has PDFs you can print and keep handy for easy reference!
How to Talk to Your Child About Disabilities (ages 5-8) by Ziba Kashef
Talking to Kids About Disabilities: 6 tips by Varda Epstein