18 - 48 Months+

Talking to Your Child About Race and Racism

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“Let little children be the hope you hold in your arms. Let them be the promise that the future will be better because of the values you instill in them.” — Julie Lythcott-Haims

We at Lovevery believe in a world where all children can fulfill their innate promise. We have much work to do to achieve that dream. Work that starts at home in the form of a conversation. For some, it’s a choice, for others, a necessity. Because we all must talk to our kids about race. 

It’s a difficult conversation not because of the child in the room, but because of the fears we face as adults. Fear that we will say the wrong thing, fear of what our children will ask us, fear that we won’t have the answer. All of this is normal and to be expected because nobody has all the answers. And starting the conversation at home is the first step toward addressing that ignorance. Here to help us with that conversation is Julie Lythcott-Haims. She is an author, speaker, and activist based out of Palo Alto, California. Her books are How To Raise An Adult and Real American: A Memoir. She identifies as a biracial woman who has spent a lot of time in white spaces. And she has much to teach us.

Key Takeaways:

[2:22] How can parents start the conversation about race and racism?

[6:40] How did Julie Lythcott-Haims talk to her own children about racism?

[10:25] How the death of Trayvon Martin, who was shot by police, triggered Julie to talk to her son.

[11:48] Julie discusses the disregard for black lives that is rooted in American history.

[12:22] How would you feel if you worried about your child every time he left the house?

[13:22] When executive function skills are not a choice but a life-saving tool.

[13:54] How to talk about racism with your child and simultaneously convey a sense of pride in their heritage.

[15:04] We are our kids’ first role model: Your child is paying attention to how you behave.

[16:25] How to model inclusive behavior as a parent.

[19:39] American is not color blind.

[21:10] How to explain the difference in skin colors to your toddler.

[21:55] Try this message: Differences do exist, but there is no value of one over the other.

[25:03] Facing fear that your message will not be transmitted to your child in the right way. 

[28:50] Julie talks about what you should avoid saying to your children.

[31:19] Teach your little ones the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

[32:12] Julie shares her own biases.

[35:03] Racism had taught Julie she had to prove she was good enough in white circles.

[36:09] “As a black person, I learned to be biased against black people.”

[37:13] Overcoming your own biases involves one conscious and mindful interaction at a time.

Mentioned in this episode:

How To Raise An Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims

Real American: A Memoir, Julie Lythcott-Haims

The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired, Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne-Bryson

Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do, Jennifer Eberhardt

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Author

Kate Garlinge Avatar

Kate Garlinge

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Posted in: 18 - 48 Months+, Language, Communication, race, Parenting

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