Parent Seminar #1 – How can we have conversations with our kids about difficult and challenging world events?

John M. and Tiffany Y.

 

Our first parent seminar, “How can we have conversations with our kids about difficult and challenging world events?” was a huge success! Many thanks to the parents who came to this seminar and for sharing your ideas. The feedback that we received revealed a clear desire to continue with this seminar series. We look forward to our next seminar on November 29, 2017 at 5:30 – 7 PM. The topic of the next seminar will be social media.

 

Some of the questions that we raised in the challenging world events seminar included:
  • What kind of conversations have you had at home about this or similar events? How did they go?
  • What was easy about those conversations? What was difficult? How could you tell?
  • What are some strategies that you might be using that you find effective?
  • Have you changed the way that you parent or make decisions about your child’s activities due to these kinds of events?
  • How does the media impact the conversations that we have with our kids about these events?
  • How do we empower our kids to respond in a proactive way, so that they can help to make change?
Here are some highlights and ideas that were shared from our discussion that evening:
Strategies
  • Ask your child(ren) their thoughts and what they already know.
  • Provide an open, nonjudgmental, and safe environment to talk with your child(ren).
  • Every family is unique – consider how and when to address a controversial event with your child(ren); Should you tell them before they go to school and hear about it from friends? Allow them to discover via peers? Consider also that child(ren) may hear about the event from peers via social media before they even go to school.
  • Keep an open mind about the popular culture that kids are influenced by; show a genuine curiosity in their interests and ask them questions (e.g., What do you like about this song/artist? Why do you think it speaks to you?).
  • Recognize the ways that we are fortunate to live in the time and place that we do and reinforce this idea with kids.
  • Challenging world events are nothing new, but we learn about them and react to them in new ways due to the immediacy of technology and social media; important to keep this perspective and discuss this factor with kids.
  • Encourage kids to think about specific steps that they can take within their own communities to create a sense of empowerment; their own community can start as close as their own family or immediate classmates and peers; start small in modelling the ways that we wish to behave around others.
  • Middle school is a time when kids become more actively aware of and engaged with the larger world and community around them. Critical thinking about these events and how the information is presented to them, and allowing them the space to ask questions, explain their views, and process the information can help to build a larger context.
Feedback
  • Enjoyed the increased interaction with staff and other parents.
  • Refreshing to have faculty who are confident enough in themselves to reach out and solicit ideas, and demonstrate a genuine openness to listen.
  • Reassuring to hear other parents’ experiences and approaches.
Here are some additional resources: