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Tips for Discussing Police Misconduct with Children

  • On April 20, 2021, a jury found a former Minnesota police officer guilty for the death of an unarmed black man. As these situations are more widely publicized, children unavoidably become aware and may have questions or concerns about these tragic events. 

    The Normandy Counseling department has resources they would like to share with families who may need some help explaining these very difficult situations. If you would like to or have your child speak with a counselor about what they may be feeling, please contact your child’s school. 

    Below are tips from the Normandy Counseling department that may be helpful when talking to children about events like police misconduct and possible civil unrest. 

    • Ask children what they have heard about the trial, how they feel about the verdict, or if they have any questions about it and follow their lead based upon what they want to know.
    • Take an approach that's developmentally appropriate and speak in a language that they understand, answering questions honestly, and clarifying misinformation or misconceptions. 
    • Be patient and accepting of their feelings and concerns and assure them that adults are in charge of them and will help keep them safe.  
    • Listen out for indications of anxiety, worry or other psychological distress they might be experiencing. This might be displayed in increased sadness or moodiness, increased irritability, difficulty sleeping or a reluctance to sleep alone, less comfort in being alone, decreased appetite, or decreased pleasure in participating in activities that they generally enjoy. 
    • Seek help from a trained mental health professional if necessary. Normandy’s School Counselors can offer help and provide resources.