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Hey parents – are you talking about race with your teens?
If it isn’t a constant and ongoing conversation, it’s time to make it a priority.
If you need to ask why, you probably aren’t ready.
If you are scared, it’s okay, most white people are; you’re not alone.
If you are worried you’ll say the wrong thing, I want to push you through the worry.
If you think you don’t know enough, I’ve got resources for you.
If you have tried and stumbled and want some guidance, I’ve got your back.
If you want to learn with and from other parents, accept the #ConversationChallenge.
It’s free but not easy.
Talking about race can be hard…I get it. I wasn’t raised having these conversations with my parents but the cycle has got to stop with us. Because how can we expect courageous action if we are scared of the conversation? Time’s up.
Join the #ConversationChallenge and I will lead you through 7 guided conversations designed to help you engage in open dialogue with your teenage children.
I double dog dare you!
If you don’t have a teenager and would like to do this work, click here for the same curriculum but different guided questions that you can use as prompts for a conversation with anyone.
Hi, I’m Sara!
In 2013 I took a deep dive into my own racial justice journey. It happened fast in some ways and it was painfully slow in other ways. During those first couple of months I remember someone asking the question, “What can we do to fix these horrific racial disparities?” and the presenter answered, “Start talking about it…with your family, friends, co-workers.” I was NOT satisfied with that answer.
For one, it seemed too easy of an answer, almost like it was diminishing the level of urgency and complexity of the problem. The second reason his answer didn’t sit well with me was because, as easy as it sounded to start talking about race, the reality was, I was embarrassed of how hard it actually was when I tried.
I was raised to NOT talk about race, religion, and politics and now people were telling me that our lack of conversation around race was getting in the way of healing and dismantling racism in our country, in our communities, and in our own hearts.
Why are we talking with our teens?
It’s a way to start practicing these difficult conversations. Starting at home is a great place and starting with our teens is even better! Our teenagers know a lot and most of them are more comfortable talking about race and social issues than we are. The more you practice, the easier it becomes to engage with other people in your life, in your workplace, and in the community.
We can learn from our teenagers. They live in different times and as much as we are here to teach them, they are here to teach us. Talking about race with the younger generation opens new ways of thinking and perspective.
It’s an opportunity to connect. In my experience, my teenagers get sick of me telling them what to do and how to do it. When I get curious and ask them questions, I am modeling active listening and respect for their experience and knowledge. It also gives them an opportunity to talk about what they believe and that strengthens their ability to have conversations with other people in the world.
Here’s How it Works
Once you sign up, you’ll receive an email from me every 10 days that will include the following:
- One conversation topic about race for your family to discuss
- 10-20 minutes of parent prep work related to the topic
- Guided conversation questions for you and your teen
The goal of this challenge is to engage in all 7 conversations and begin a new way of interacting and engaging in conversations with your teen and family about race and social and racial justice. If you attempt a conversation and it doesn’t go anywhere, consider it a success. Talking with teens is challenging as it is. If life gets in the way, save the conversation starter emails and schedule time to make it happen… it’s never too late to start talking about race with your family.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does the parent prep work look like?
A: The Parent Prep Work was designed for you to spend 10-20 minutes learning, reflecting, thinking and examining yourself based on the conversation topic. If you have more time, I recommend digging deeper. This helps you prepare to lead the conversation with your family.
Q: How do guided questions work? Will they be appropriate for my child’s age level?
A: Choose any of the Guided Questions to ignite the conversation and dive right into the topic. Based on the level of maturity, age, education, and/or experience you and your teen have, you can stick with the simple questions or use the more advanced questions.
Q: When should I have each conversation?
A: You can choose the days and times you want to have each conversation according to your family’s schedule. The goal is to attempt all 7 conversations, over the next couple of months, but if you don’t finish, don’t give up. Teens need to be in a receptive mood to engage. I don’t recommend trying to force a conversation. I will give more guidance on this during the challenge.
Q: What’s the ideal age range for these conversations?
A: Middle school and high school age children. It depends on a number of things, of course, like the experience your family has with diversity and their maturity level. If your children are younger but you want to join, I encourage it. You can always try these conversations with friends and other family members too. If your children are grown, please join. It is never too late to start talking about race with your children or anyone for that matter.
My Expectations for You:
Talking about race with your family doesn’t have to be so scary. Join this guided conversation challenge and get the support and information you need to face your fears.