Asked & Answered: How To Talk About Race & Diversity

All responses taken from our Facebook groups: Foster Parenting Toolbox and Kinship Parenting Group.

Race and diversity can be tough topics for parents to approach with their children. We asked current foster, kinship and adoptive parents how they teach and role model respect for different races and cultures.

“Love that you are even thinking of addressing this. My suggestion would be to approach it like you would any conversation about treating people kindly. Also, if you don’t already, make sure your group of friends that are exposed to your children is culturally diverse as well. This is not an easy conversation but it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable either.”

“All my kids are mixed Black and white and every single one of them are a different shade, it’s actually pretty cool. And it makes it really easy to teach that there are people who look differently than us, but each and everyone of us are unique and are very, very special! Every single one of them has a different hair pattern, so every single one of them has a unique way of doing their hair and there are some things that work for one hair type and some things that don’t work for another, so it’s really cool to teach them about respecting everybody’s hair and loving their own.”

“Total honesty! At any age children need honesty on any topic!”

“My girls like to make beaded necklaces. I said that like beads, people are different but they are all valued. They look different, but that’s what’s great because wouldn’t our necklaces look boring if all the beads were the same? They were rather young when I used this metaphor. I also told them that seeing differences are not problematic, it becomes wrong when those differences are seen as making one better than another. I spread my hands apart, palms facing one another, showing a lateral plane. I then switch to a vertical plane, showing ‘vertical thinking,’ shaking one hand at a time, shaking the higher hand saying ‘this is not better than…’ then shaking the lower hand ‘this one.’ I then take it back to a lateral plane, reinforcing that differences may be noticeable but it is NOT okay to think anyone is more or less valuable, important, better than another.”

“Lots of books. We get books that portray a lot of different cultures and main characters of different races.”

“It is an ongoing conversation and modeling. We try to have a diverse mix of people in our lives, too. My kids go to a school where about half the students are Latinx (like my kids), we seek out Black owned businesses, BIPOC coaches, for lessons, etc. Their school has a social justice bent to it, which I appreciate so much. We watch shows and movies with diverse casts. We talk about what the kids are seeing on the news. We have gone to our community’s MLK March every year. My kids are almost 9 and 7½. Personally, I also founded and also participate in my work’s Equity Initiative because I believe us white folks can always do better by learning and reflecting.”

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