The 6 Steps Every Parent Needs to Know for Raising Anti-Racist Children
Introduction: The Importance of Anti-Racist Parenting
In today's world, the topic of racism is more relevant than ever. As parents, it's crucial to not only teach our children about equality but also to actively raise them to be anti-racist. This involves more than just a casual conversation; it requires ongoing dialogue, education, and action. In this parenting blog, we'll explore six essential steps to raise anti-racist children, inspired by a video from The Mom Psychologist.

Step 1: Be an Anti-Racist Role Model
The first step in raising anti-racist children is to be an anti-racist yourself. Children learn more from what you do than what you say. Therefore, it's vital to actively participate in combating racism in all its forms. This means identifying, describing, and dismantling racism whenever you encounter it. Before you can teach your children about race and anti-racism, you need to do the work within yourself.

Parent: "Hey, I noticed you were playing with Sarah today. I heard her say something about Jenny's skin colour that wasn't very nice."
Child: "Yeah, it made me feel weird."
Parent: "It's important to speak up when someone says something that's not fair or kind. Next time, you could say, 'That's not a nice thing to say. We should treat everyone equally.'"

Step 2: Start Conversations Early
Contrary to the myth of being "colour blind," it's essential to start conversations about race early in a child's life. Research shows that children as young as two can develop racial biases. By age nine or ten, they can even start to develop racist attitudes. Therefore, it's crucial to discuss race, equality, and diversity from a young age. Use age-appropriate language and be open to answering their questions honestly.

Child: "Mummy, why does Jenny have brown skin?"
Parent: "People have different skin colours because of where their families originally come from. It's what makes us all unique and special. Isn't it wonderful that we're all different but equally important?"

Step 3: Empower Through Role-Playing
Prepare your children for situations where they might witness or experience racist bullying. Role-playing can be an effective way to teach them how to respond. Equip them with a loose script or default responses to fall back on during stressful experiences. This empowers them to take a stand and also provides them with the tools to comfort and support others who might be victims.

Parent: "What would you do if you heard someone at school making fun of another kid because of their skin colour?"
Child: "I don't know. Maybe tell a teacher?"
Parent: "That's a good option. You could also say, 'That's not cool. We should treat everyone with respect.'"

Step 4: Diversify Their Experiences
Diversifying your child's experiences goes beyond just having a diverse set of toys or books. It means actively seeking out diverse life experiences. This could involve attending diverse community events, visiting museums that focus on different cultures, or even just striking up conversations with parents from different racial backgrounds at the playground. The key is to make these experiences authentic and integrated into their daily life.

Parent: "This weekend, we're going to a cultural festival to learn about different traditions from around the world. It'll be fun!"
Child: "Cool! Will there be food from other countries?"
Parent: "Yes, and music and dances too! It's good to learn about other cultures."

Step 5: Teach Socialisation Skills
Children need to be comfortable socialising with people who don't look like them. This starts with you, the parent, modelling these behaviours. Teach your children to approach others with openness and curiosity. Encourage them to ask open-ended questions and to be respectful listeners. This will not only enrich their lives but also make them more empathetic individuals.

Parent: "When you meet someone new at school who doesn't look like you, what could you say?"
Child: "Hi, my name is Tim. What's yours?"
Parent: "Perfect! And you could ask about their favourite games or subjects in school. It's about getting to know them as a person."

Step 6: Avoid Instilling Fear
While it's essential to prepare your children for the harsh realities of the world, it's equally important not to instil too much fear in them. Emphasise that they are safe and can always come to you with their questions or concerns. This creates an open space for dialogue and learning.

Child: "I heard some kids talking about bad things happening to people because of their skin colour. It's scary."
Parent: "It's okay to feel scared, but remember, you're safe, and you can always talk to me or another trusted adult about your worries. And we can think of ways to make the world a better place together."

Conclusion: The Lifelong Journey of Anti-Racist Parenting
Raising anti-racist children is not a one-time event but a lifelong journey. It requires continuous effort, education, and dialogue. As parents, it's our responsibility to equip our children with the tools they need to combat racism and promote equality. By following these six steps, you're not just raising a child; you're raising a future leader and agent of change.