Local counselor speaks on importance of talking with your kids about protests

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — One local counselor said that even if kids aren’t reaching out, it’s important for parents to talk to them about the protests because it’s likely that kids are experiencing them online .

“Social media is so prevalent in our kids lives. They’re seeing it. They’re seeing it on the news,” explained Renita Shores-Gaston.

Shoes-Gaston is a licensed clinical social worker with Resilience Counseling in Rockford. She said that since kids are most likely experiencing the George Floyd protests in some form on their own–it’s a good idea for parents to start a conversation with their children about what is happening.

“Just being open and honest about how people are frustrated, and they’re angry, and they’re upset, and they’re hurting. And so one way to do that is to protest. When you want something to be changed, you can protest,” she explained.

Being transparent about how you feel is one strategy to convince your kids to open up.

“You should be honest with your kids about how it’s making you feel. I think that’s a great starting point, is that I’m a parent–but I’m also a human and I also feel what’s happening in the world,” Shores-Gaston added. “Then they’ll feel more comfortable saying I feel that too Mom or Dad. I feel that also.”

She added that it’s also important to let kids know that there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to express their emotions.

“Just explain it to your kids that there is nothing wrong with protesting. You get out there, you use your voice. You march, and you do what you need to do. But then there is a limit to that. You don’t hurt other people, and you don’t hurt property, and you don’t steal and all of that,” Shores-Gaston said.

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