How to talk to your children about the U.S. Capitol riot

Talking to your kids about unrest
Talking to your kids about unrest

It’s been more than a week since the Capitol riot in Washington D.C. and Colleen Rodriguez, CEO of Jewish Family and Community Services, said there are several ways to talk to children and teenagers about the events that unfolded.

Before the conversation, Rodriguez told News4Jax that adults should check their own emotions first.

“They are not adults. They cannot process the way that we can,” explained Rodriguez. “They do not have all the information that we do. So make sure that you are in a calm, safe space before you have that conversation with your children.”

Rodriguez recommended parents start the conversation instead of waiting for their children to bring it up.

“I would be going to them because you don’t know what they are hearing at school, what they are seeing, what they have overheard you speaking about,” said Rodriguez. “It doesn’t have to be a dramatic conversation. It is more just of ‘Have you heard what’s going on? Have you heard what’s happening at the Capitol? How do you feel? What is our perception of that?’ And getting them to open up and talk to you.”

Talking to kids about unrest, violence
Talking to kids about unrest, violence

Depending on age, Rodriguez said the conversation will vary. For young children, she suggested reassuring them they are safe and can talk to you. For teenagers, she recommended making it a teachable moment.

“What is their perception? What are they hearing? What are they saying? And how this is relating to what they are learning in school. What role do they want to play in the future? How do they want to have a positive impact in their local community as well as their country?” said Rodriguez. “And really having some good dialogue and not being judgmental because teens can be very opinionated. They may not agree with how you are feeling. But I really do think that with our teens, this is a teachable moment.”

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