The horrific shooting at the spas in Atlanta has opened up a bigger conversation about anti-Asian violence in our country. Feelings of unease have been simmering since the start of the pandemic when many Asians were wrongly blamed, discriminated against and even attacked because of race. During this time of unrest, we must find ways to keep the lines of communication open between not just our kids but also our community.
One way to help right now is to take a more active role in instilling a sense of empathy in our children. Organizations like the Making Caring Common Project offer resources for families on teaching empathy, using role models to teach diligence and tips for raising caring kids.
Experts suggest allowing your kids to take the lead when it comes to questions and conversation starters. Encourage them to share their feelings about what’s going on around them and foster a home environment where it’s okay and encouraged to ask questions.
If you or your partner are Asian, it’s possible that you and your family have encountered racism. This guide from Apex Youth on how to talk to Asian-American youth about racism may be helpful.
Now is also a good time to be mindful of your own media consumption. That’s not to say we should shelter our kids from the headlines but over-consumption of TV news, social media and internet news sites can have a negative effect not just on you but those around you. Take time to turn off devices and be together as a family.
Books are a great way to teach your kids about the current climate. Try reading Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho and Dung Ho, Asian Americans Who Inspire Us by Analiza Quiroz Wolf and The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates as a starting point. Follow accounts on social media such as @shirien.creates and @drwngdrwng for positivity and inspiration.
Organizations like Girls Leadership offer workshops and engagement opportunities that can be springboards for important conversations with your kids.
You can even view artwork with your child that will help spark ideas. ‘Artists for #StopAsianHate’ is an initiative to raise funds in support of Stop AAPI Hate, a nonprofit organization leading the fight against anti-Asian racism and hate crimes in our communities.
And remember, it’s most important to model the behavior you want to see in your kids. If your child sees you speaking up when you see something that’s wrong and standing in solidarity with others, he or she will likely grow up to be a person who does the same.