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Explaining current events to your children

A clinical psychologist says the first thing you need to do is ask them if they feel safe.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The world can get complex at times and kids will ask questions about it to make sense of it all. That's according to Jeff Roach, a clinical psychologist and director of Family Counseling Associates in Buffalo. 

Roach says the key to having the right conversation begins with your child feeling safe.

"When your child is feeling calmer and more receptive, you can then speak to their minds and help them understand," Roach said. 

Roach says parents should have a series of conversations on complex topics. But each one should continue to begin with the question "do you feel safe?"

"Let them ask the questions and then try to keep your answers brief and focused and on your child's level," Roach said. 

He says it's also important to share personal experiences with children because in a way, they're explaining the child's entire world to them. That will differ depending on the household they grow up in.

For Cecil Foster, a UB professor of African American Studies, he's been having a much different conversation with his grand kids for as long as he can remember. 

"Even in periods of quiet and calm," Foster said. "That is one of the legacies and challenges of being black in North America. That at any moment, you can have several challenges based on the color of your skin."  

He says it's a conversation that's been happening across generations in his family. It will continue, until Foster says the two sides of the divide come together. 

"That's where we will get much of the reconciliation that we need in society," Foster said.

That means asking every child the same questions that truly unite us all. 

"How do you treat fellow human beings? How do you recognize human dignity and would you want that is happening to someone else, to happen to you," he said. 

Foster says he believes it's also important to remind children that though there is evil in the world, there's hope and good will succeed.  

He adds that part of changing society includes getting out to the polls during voting season. 

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