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Parenting While Black, With Intention

Prepare your child to navigate a racist world

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Protecting, nurturing and loving our children are common acts of good parenting no matter our race. But parenting Black children in this society adds unique layers of complexity. When our children step outside, a world full of beauty and opportunity awaits them, yet it’s also a world in which racism and white supremacy are a stark reality. As Black parents, we carry deep concern and fear for our children's safety, and we feel the weight of our responsibility to protect and educate them about what they may encounter.

Here are one Ginger coach’s strategies that have worked for her family. Maybe they’ll be useful for your family, too. These strategies are not meant to be exhaustive, nor are they meant for one-time use. Parenting with intention is an ongoing and ever-evolving way of relating to your Black child and preparing them to take on the particular challenges they will likely face in our society. 

  1. Have your own version of The Talk. Come up with your own version of The Talk to prepare your child to navigate racism. Be mindful of what you want to share, how much you want your child to know about the issues, and what is developmentally appropriate. 
  2. Explain our history. Teach your child the history of white supremacy and racism. But also teach them the history of Black people, especially Black people pre-slavery.  
  3. Share the successes of other Black people. Tell stories and find age-appropriate books to read with your child. Remind them that ‘We live for the we’. This idea comes from the book of the same name by Dani McClain and perfectly articulates the notion that our lives aren’t meant to be lived without thought of others. We are a part of a whole. 
  4. Create a joyful home. Adopt the attitude that joy, in the face of racism and injustice, is an act of resistance and self-care that builds resilience. Laugh, play, and have fun together. 
  5. Teach them to manage their emotions, and model it. Remind your children that it’s OK to have hard feelings and that they’re capable of working through them. Show them how to do it by managing your own emotions. If you need tips, check out Ginger’s “Strategies for dealing with racial trauma.” Or reach out to a Ginger coach who can support you in your efforts.

Parenting Black children takes thoughtfulness and planning but also intentionality.  As you prepare your children for this world in which racism is a reality that they'll encounter every day, remember to  attend to your own emotional well-being and acknowledge any racial trauma you may have suffered. Take care of yourself so that you can appreciate the wonders that this world has to offer. But also so that you can authentically model joy and hope, and be your children’s living example of resilience, courage, and what is possible.

To read the full essay on which this activity card is based, please click here.