Talking with Youth About Difficult Events and Topics
| January 12, 2021
Last week, a violent mob descended upon the Capitol in an act of domestic terrorism. It left many of us feeling wide ranges of emotions. In times when we don't always know how to comprehend something ourselves, it can be helpful to look for resources and guidance on talking to our youth.
This resource from Parents.com speaks specifically to the events from last week. While it is written for parents, it can be useful for any caring adult when talking to a young person. Here are some ways you can talk to youth in an age-appropriate way:
- Give them space to talk about what they're feeling.
- Reassure them that they are safe.
- Give them facts and ask open-ended questions.
- Talk about and differentiate between the different people and groups involved.
- Present comparisons between this riot and other events that youth have witnessed and heard about.
- Mention any positive or hopeful moments and outcomes.
It is essential that we do talk with youth in these moments, even if we can't do it perfectly, because sometimes a lack of communication and understanding can be the scariest part of a situation.
Don't get discouraged or back away from tough conversations with young people. It's important to have them even if they're uncomfortable or difficult as they can help to build a sense of trust and mutual respect. Youth can see and feel what's going on around them, and it's up to caring adults to help them understand and process. For additional resources, visit this post from Parents.com on talking with youth and this list of relaxation apps from Popsugar.
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