At Common Sense, we believe that families belong together and all kids deserve the opportunity to thrive, succeed, and be their best selves. The core of our mission and why we get up every day is to support the well-being of kids and families. That is why we cannot stay silent when families are being separated at the border and kids are being detained in camps under the most inhumane conditions. This is not who we are as a country and certainly not the values we want to impart to our children.
We implore our legislators to end the practice of zero tolerance, of separating families and putting kids in cages, and to instead lead with compassion toward a solution where we treat ALL kids, regardless of where they come from, with the kindness and love they deserve.
We know the news and images of kids in detention camps can be upsetting. Here are suggestions on how to talk about families being separated at the border with your family:
Talk and listen. In the middle of this crisis, your kids may bring up what's happening. Listen to find out what they know, share your thoughts and feelings, and let them do the same.
Reinforce the importance of empathy, acceptance, and respect. What we're seeing in newscasts and on social media is alarming and heartbreaking. Have conversations about the importance of respecting and tolerating people who are different from us. Share books about the immigrant experience to help kids understand different perspectives.
Look within your family and look around, too. Are you an immigrant yourself? Do you come from an immigrant family? Talk about your family history. Be in touch with your relatives. If you're not an immigrant, look around and see who in your networks or among your kids' friends are immigrants and might need additional support during this time.
Think about the news sources you watch. So much is circulating online. Pay attention to the news sources you follow. Look for credible sources, and for younger kids, check out news sites geared specifically toward kids. One news anchor described the tented areas where separated kids are being held as "summer camps," which provoked infuriated reactions on social media platforms. For older kids, watch all sides of the news coverage and discuss different points of view.
Be mindful of your comments on social media. It can be challenging with all the news that's circulating, but be caring and respectful when you comment or post on social media. Role-modeling is essential, even in our most challenging moments.
Fight the stereotypes and point out the multiple contributions immigrants make to America.
Talk about history. With older kids, you can discuss what's happening now in the context of history. If you and your family have your own stories that relate to this situation, talk about them.
About Common Sense
Common Sense is the nation's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century. Learn more at www.commonsense.org.