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How to talk to your kids about hate crimes

Published: Mar. 21, 2021 at 11:08 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2021 at 6:39 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A local psychiatrist gives tips on how to talk to your kids about hate crimes and the rise of violence against Asian Americans.

Dr. Jeremiah Dickerson, a child and youth psychiatrist from the UVM Medical Center, says you should first acknowledge that this is a complex topic and the conversation can provoke a lot of anxiety and fear for both you and your kid.

He says you should provide a safe and supportive space for your child to ask questions. He also urges parents to do less talking and more listening.

Dickerson says you should let your kids tell you what they’re hearing and allow that to guide you on how to proceed with the discussion.

Dickerson also says you should use the conversation to educate your kids about some of the underlying issues of hate crimes, including prejudice and bias.

“I think if we don’t talk about it then you sort of raise the risk of just intensifying misinformation or fostering stereotypes,” he said. “So I do think we, as grownups and as parents, have a responsibility to talk to our kids about these topics, even though it may be really difficult to do for some families.”

Dickerson says you should also pay extra attention to your child’s behavior, mood, appetite and sleeping patterns. If you notice any drastic changes, you are encouraged to call their pediatrician.

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