Delicate Topics: How to Explain Protests to Kids

Available for Interviews:  Dr. Colleen Cira

Dr. Colleen Cira, Psy.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in Women and Trauma, and has worked with hundreds of people struggling with mental health issues.


Talking Points on What Dr. Cira Can Say in an Interview
About Explaining Protests to kids:

  1. Parents, especially White Parents, should be having conversations with children about race anyway, protests or not. Institutionalized racism is as old as America, so parents need to be talking to their children about power and privilege early on. Reading books that discuss racism and have different characters with different races, ethnicities, and cultures is recommended. Only by starting this conversation early can we ever expect to have a more loving, less hateful world.

  1. Regarding the protests specifically, parents should consider these two things: a) What is my child actually asking so I can stay on track and only give them the information they are curious about? and b) What is developmentally appropriate, given my child’s actual and emotional age?
  2. These conversations are going to look very different based on the answers to the above-mentioned questions. For instance, with my soon-to-be 8 year old, I reminded him about racism (a concept he is very familiar with) and that because of racism, a Black Man was murdered by the police. And because things like this have been happening for a VERY LONG TIME, lots and lots of people of all races are angry. And, as my son and I always talk about, the healthiest thing you can do with your anger is SPEAK IT. And that’s what protesters are doing. They are speaking their anger and that’s a powerful thing that we can, should, and do support.
  3. LOOTING is different than protesting. Some of the looting is happening due to opportunists who could care less about the cause, and some of the looting is happening because people are aware that violence is one of the tried and true ways of getting things done in America—for better and worse. So for older kids, it can be helpful to provide some historical context about how important pieces of legislation in our country have only come about after violent protests and/or riots. This isn’t ideal…but it also is what it is.
  4. Whatever you say to your children, please ensure that you are giving the message that we as a Country, and as a People, need to do better. We need to spread kindness and understanding, not hatred and condemnation. We need to contextualize people’s responses with why they feel that way in the first place (e.g., Black People are angry because they ARE BEING KILLED).


Available for Interviews: Dr. Colleen Cira

Dr. Colleen Cira, Psy.D., received both her Masters and Doctorate from The Illinois School of Professional Psychology and is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the State of Illinois.  She’s the Founder and Executive Director of Cira Center for Behavioral Health, PC, a boutique group practice specializing in Women and Trauma with locations in Chicago and Oak Park.

She was named one of the “Top 100 Women in Chicago Making a Difference” by Today’s Chicago Woman.  Dr. Cira is a trauma and anxiety expert, clinical supervisor, writer, speaker, consultant, activist, wife, and Mommy to two little ones.

Jo Allison
Managing Editor
Director of Public Relations
Success In Media, Inc.

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