George Floyd protests: Family therapist offers advice on talking to kids about racism, protests

With protests happening across the nation following a video of a former Minneapolis police officer with his knee on George Floyd’s neck, young people are processing difficult imagery and leading to tough conversations.

Local family therapist Cherlette McCullough is offering advice on how to help young people work their way through the trauma they’re seeing on TV and social media.

“The challenge for parents is how to protect their children from seeing so much violence through television and social media outlets while simultaneously explaining to them the difference between good behavior and bad behavior,” McCullough said.

READ: George Floyd protests: Medical examiner lists Floyd’s death a homicide

For some, the current situation is creating a familiar frustration. Others are just trying to understand it all.

She said parents should be careful about passing on their own biases and prejudices before kids even understand the concept of racism.

“Some children may truly feel like ‘I want to be involved. I want to do something about this.' And as a parent you want to validate that, you don't want to stifle that,” McCullough said.

She said the conversations should be consistent and age-appropriate.

She said to be open and honest and explain that some people are treated unfairly based on their skin color, culture or religion.

READ: George Floyd protests: Demonstrators, police officers march together in Kissimmee against police brutality

She said talking to your child about the importance of embracing differences and treating others with respect is essential, but not enough.

McCullough said it’s important to do something and take a stand when you witness injustice.

“Overall you want to have an open discussion with your children around rioting, around violence, around their perception of what’s going on,” McCullough said.

Karen Parks

Karen Parks, WFTV.com

Karen Parks is a reporter at WFTV.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.