Do As I Say, And As I Do

or Raising Kids That Are Socially Aware

Photo by Andreas Wohlfahrt on

From birth to adulthood, parents the world over want to create better for their children. Sometimes it seems more difficult than we think. Sometimes what we feel is best for them, we find they may disagree with later.

We are currently living through moments of civil unrest and children may not be able to process the information before them. If, like me, you are a parent that struggles yourself with the state of the world, it can be daunting to help your child process what they see. That doesn’t mean that we should simply ignore it. While my child is currently too young to have discussions on institutionalized racism and the myths of race, colorism, the historical systemic racism that is found in most countries (let’s be honest), that doesn’t mean we can’t help her see the world through inclusive eyes.

Although it definitely feels different in the US, especially with this current string of protests and activism and support from the greater community. But like many will tell you, we have been here before. Many times.

So where do we go from here? While outside, policy changes are needed to rectify the situation there are things you can do in your home in order to raise children that are more aware. So I’ve pulled together some resources that might be helpful.

In the end, we must lead by example. Our children learn from us what is acceptable in the world and what is not. If we keep them from our conversations, how will they learn?

We need more diverse books! Period. Exclamation mark!

A list of resources for those looking for diverse materials for adults and children from We Need Diverse Books.

Photo by Janko Ferlic on

There aren’t enough but it’s a start.

If you’re interested the The Brown Book Shelf held a #KidLit4BlackLives with a replay now available.

Teachable Moments

We all know when they happen, that awkward moment that feels as if we don’t grab it could slip through our fingers never to be seen again. If this feels like that for you then this may be the opportunity you need to talk to your child about the “why’s” and “who’s” and “what’s”. We may not have the exact right words and that’s the point, parenthood is not perfect but bringing awareness to something we may feel inclined to let pass us by, makes our children also think.

If the conversation makes you feel awkward and unsure, that’s ok. Parents are allowed to not have the answer to everything, but at least trying to engage with your child at their level is a start.

Rebecca Bigler, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Gender Studies at UT College, where her research focuses on racial stereotyping and gender role development in children as well as gender neutral language, states that children learn about race much younger than we think they do. Which is why these conversations are important from an early age.

For more examples on how to speak to children in a way that they understand check out her example in this NYT article from 2014, “Talking about racism with white kids“.

Be the change you want to see in the world.


We can be our childrens’ moral compasses by leading and walking in step with values and morals that embrace diversity, allow for conversations on change and promote understanding.

Because they are always watching.

Published by JSantana

Obsessed with Intentional Inclusivity and Fierce Belonging. Delivering Culture-Driven Leaders.

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