You can’t tell a book by its cover.
Nor can you (really) appreciate or understand a book by reading the Cliff Notes.
It can be hard to race through a book and something meaningful out of it.
Moms are “teachers” in and often set the tone of their home.
Get On Your Mark.
To start to have a race-talk with your children is going to involve you it’s going to be important to get yourself ready first.
Why? Because, “stuff” is going to surface. And if you don’t have a grasp on yourself first, then that “stuff” will muddy the waters and interfere with whatever it is that you’re trying to communicate to your daughter (or son).
The task of navigating the waters of race-relations in America – and guiding your children through it – can feel daunting for any mom.
To help you with the magnitude of the task, I’m suggesting you focus on R.A.C.E. to guide your children through the sea of rhetoric and rallies, research and reason… and real emotions.
These will be particularly helpful if you have children who are pre-K through 5th grade.
Four Tips For Running
Your “R.A.C.E. Talk” With Your Kids
First, you need to Really hone in on who you are as a racial being. Everyone’s life journey as a human being is different and is impacted by their skin color.
Humans are wired for perceiving and making judgements about things, people, and situations they encounter. Human beings are constantly surveying their surroundings to determine what and where is safe, familiar in order to meet their primal base need for security.
Once security is attained, then they are then able to move on to look for connecting with others.
Second, you need to Accept to your feelings. As humans (& even as women in particular) moms are feeling beings. Sometimes your emotions can get the best of you. Still, understanding and accepting your emotions is key to owning them so that they don’t surprise you or make you feel out of control.
When you are able to own your feelings, then you can better understand the feelings of others, including your children’s feelings.
Third, as a mom you need to Check your social circles to see if they represent the kind of “world” your children will be entering when they get older. How can you really teach your child about others who are different from them without any real-life examples in your own midst?
Fourth, we as a mom you need to find ways to Educate yourself about your own race’s/culture’s history. When you know from whence you’ve come, then you can adeptly teach—educate . . . lead—your children in a race talk that will enrich both of you.
Tips For Your Child’s R.A.C.E.
For children, their growth in racial identity is a mental thing.
Mentally, children start out as concrete in their thinking. They are literal in what how they take in information. For the most part, you tell them what to do—or they see you doing something—and they do it.
Watch The Tracks You’re Leaving . . . Behind
That’s something to keep in mind.
Which is why, as a mom, modeling behavior is key during this stage of their lives.
The behavior that they “pick up on” becomes the foundation for their mental, behavioral, and racial development later in life.
So, as a mom, you need to keep R.A.C.E. in mind as you model:
- Respect in how you treat others (“The Golden Rule” principle).
- Attitudes that are appropriate regarding things like sharing and giving.
- Character traits that you value and want to instill in your child (e.g. like honesty and hard work). If you don’t, then later (when they enter the next phase of their mental development) your child may end up challenging your authority in some way that is unpleasant.
- Empathy; where you yourself are putting yourself in other people’s shoes by getting into their world on a regular basis.
As a mom, you will need to keep R.A.C.E. in mind by doing the following to stay on track:
- Really hone in on who you are as a racial being.
- Accept to your feelings.
- Check your social circles.
- Educate yourselves about your own race’s/culture’s history.
Also, make sure with your elementary school-aged children you are modeling:
- Attitude of giving and sharing.
- Character traits that you want to instill.
LOOKING FOR EXPERT GUIDANCE?
If you are . . .
- Feeling awkward about discussing race with your kids…
- Not quite sure how to apply the tips mentioned …
- Feel the need to talk more with an expert…
- Desiring more support…
Then SIGN UP for The Mom Talks Experience™ where you will get:
- Group support
- Tools, strategies, and resources
- Personal consultation with an expert on race, coping, and adjustment.