Child advocates urge parents to talk to kids about nationwide protests

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Child advocates say now is a good time to talk to your children about nationwide protests instead of trying to ignore them.

Racism and police brutality have become focal points in most of the protests playing out around the country and right here in Indiana.

Talking about racism can be a bit uncomfortable, but being uncomfortable may be the first sign that somethings needs to be addressed.

Monument Circle has been the rally point for protests in Indianapolis. The businesses around the Circle have felt the impact, but many are making something good out of what’s left.

“Initially we didn’t allow them to come downtown even though they actually wanted to because we didn’t know the development of what was,” said Kim Nething.

Nething owns Rocket Fizz and says she is open about talking to her kids about protests and racism. She said from an early age, she started the conversations, and they’ve picked up with recent protests.

“We are not shy about letting them see and be a part of but it also truly understand what’s going on,” she said.

Nonprofit Child Advocates says it’s important to have these kinds of conversations. Jill English oversees the Interrupting Racism for Children workshop there. The program has been around for a decade.

“Racism is deeply rooted. We want our community to understand how we are impacting our children by not addressing this,” English said.

The regular workshops have been postponed due to COVID-19, but the agency is seeing an uptick in requests for more workshops.

English said these conversations about racism are uncomfortable, and that’s OK. What’s not OK? Ignoring the problem.

“What we know is that we don’t operate in a bubble. Our children are part of our community,” English said.

English said studies show that kids as young as 6 months old can recognize differences in people. By 1-2 years old, they can start to recognize a so-called racial hierarchy.

So whether parents have these conversations or not, children are having them and it’s important to be help guide those conversations.

“We need to be responsible as parents about how we teach our children,” said Nething.

Bethany Christian Services is holding an unrelated virtual town hall to address talking to children about racism and civil unrest.