How to talk to your children about Capitol riots and other violent events

Parents should take time to listen to their children

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Wednesday’s violent events in the nation’s Capitol building are now serving as a teachable moment for educators across Seminole County Public Schools.

“It’s one of those things that you have two sides that are so polarized. We look at it as a unique opportunity to unify through those polarized messages,” Lake Brantly High School Principal Brian Blasewitz said “One of the things that we try to focus on is we try to focus on tolerance, and we try to focus on kindness, empathy and compassion. We’re preaching the fact that activism is important and it’s important to do responsibly.”

[TRENDING: 4 die in Capitol revolt | What you need to know about stimulus check | How to get the vaccine in Fla.]

A day after the nation’s Capitol building was attacked by hundreds of Trump supporters who opposed the outcome of the presidential election, Blasewitz said sometimes it’s not easy for teenagers to articulate the emotions they may have experienced from witnessing those events.

“Something we strive to do here at Lake Brantley and I know other Seminole County schools do as well, is to have students have at least one trusted adult on campus that they can go to if they’re feeling down or if they’re feeling isolated,” Blasewitz said.

Dr. Rena B. Patel, a psychologist, author and parenting expert, said if your child keeps their emotions to themselves, it’s a parent’s responsibility to check in and reassure them that they are safe.

“One recommendation I always say is don’t over divulge. Ask them what they saw, what they felt, what their perception was of what happened; that’ll give you a better understanding of where to start that discussion,” Patel said. “In general, children can keep their emotions to themselves, especially when they’re trying to process -- know what’s right or wrong. It’s important for parents, even if your child isn’t saying anything, and I wanna say school-aged child, it is important to allow for a discussion just to listen.”

Patel also recommends reminding children there are consequences to actions and rules that need to be followed.

“Especially talking about teenagers, they are themselves activists but what is a peaceful protest and where do you draw the line?,” she asked.

About the Author: