How to talk about “Hard Things” with your children

Within the last year I stumbled on Gahmya Drummond-Bey’s Instagram account, @evolvedteacher. She is a teacher, an author, a TED speaker, and a global curriculum designer. No matter the current event, she always seems to have a coping skill to assist in discussing “hard things” with children/students. She developed the C.A.R.E. (Consider, Acknowledge, Remind, Empower) method that I would like to share.

C-Consider your child’s thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Give your children the time to express how they perceive what is happening in the world around them before they hear the opinions and beliefs of others in their lives. For older children in the classroom, you can do this by allowing them time to journal. Example prompts: From your point of view, how do you feel about what you see right now? What do you HEAR about what is happening right now? Art therapy is another healthy outlet for expression. Allow your children/students time to sketch or draw their feelings/thoughts on what they see and hear about what is happening. Remember, this is all about their feelings, not how we as adults want them to perceive things.

A-Acknowledge (validate) their feelings and give them the space to express those feelings without correction or judgement. Give them the opportunity to feel like they are heard and supported. This will not only boost their confidence and self-esteem but will also build their language skills in expressing their feelings in the future.

*Active listening is good tool to use in response to your child expressing their feelings. Listen to what they are saying, and repeat back to them what you heard to ensure understanding. Example, “So what I’m hearing you say is you are feeling scared after seeing *XYZ* on the news, is that right?” For younger children, simply repeat back what they said to ensure understanding. Example, “Yeah, the fire on tv was a little scary, huh?”

R-Remind them that you have a safe space together, no matter what is happening in the outside world, whether that be in the classroom or in your home. Remind them of the home/classroom values, remind them how to show up for each other, remind them of how they are encouraged to support each other.

E-Empower your children/students and remind them that they each have a voice that can shape the future world. Empower them to look at the “issues” they see in the world knowing they can be “superheroes” to make changes as they grow.



Source: Gahmya Drummond-Bey, Instagram @evolvedteacher

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