In the wake of the election of Donald Trump, many children are reporting high levels of anxiety. In schools across the country, reports of racially motivated incidents of bullying are increasing. The news is filled with photos of street protesters clashing with the police. For immigrant parents, their children may be expressing fears of being deported.
In these contentious times, it’s often difficult for parents to know how to reassure their children – especially when they have their own fears and anxieties. Recently, Abi Gewirtz, a professor in the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development Department of Family Social Science, appeared on Minneapolis NBC affiliate KARE 11 to discuss how parents can help their children process the events of recent weeks.
When asked by host Kim Insley how parents should respond to stories their children are telling about being frightened by racial taunting, Gerwitz urged parents to be a role model to their children.
“There are a lot of big emotions happening right now, they are difficult for children and parents – particularly negative emotions like fear, anxiety and anger,” said Gewirtz. “We teach children as parents and teachers that what is crucial is not the emotion itself but your response to it.”
“Civility is the cornerstone of our democracy,” she continued. “We have this beautiful freedom of speech and expression – but how you express yourself is the most important thing. We, as parents and teachers, can show our children by modeling civility and respect. We should have no tolerance for things that are disrespectful, break the law or are racist and bigoted.”
Watch the entire segment below:
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