NATIONWIDE — As cities and social media explode with emotions ranging from anger to numbness over the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police, parents across the country are figuring out how to talk to their children about the protests and productive ways to fight racism.

Experts say parents remaining silent on issues of social injustice may do more harm than good. They encourage parents to have honest conversations with their children and to be available to answer their questions.

Here are three tips on talking to kids about racism and the protests currently underway.

  1. Tell the truth. Say their names — George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, all black people. One was being arrested. One was jogging. The other one was killed by the police in her home. Help your kids understand that the protests are happening because people want justice. They want change and there are peaceful ways to do that.
  2. Celebrate differences. Highlight differences in skin color, hair texture, and speech as part of our beautiful human tapestry and explain that we all have a part to play in fighting racism and discrimination.
  3. Be the example. As important as it is to talk about racism, our children are not born racists. That is something that develops based on what they see and hear. Model an appreciation for diversity and inclusion.

When parents choose to broach difficult topics with their children, they strengthen their role as a trusted source for truth and model the importance of addressing conflict and taking steps to resolve it.