In today’s world, even innocuous conversations can quickly turn into controversial subjects. From eating organic food to buying products only made in America and even your views of how to handle certain situations, you’re bound to find someone who disagrees with you. On a more global level, you simply have to turn on your computer or your local news station to see story after story based on controversial topics. While you may know how you feel about these issues, how should you explain complex circumstances or touchy subjects to your little ones when they start to ask questions? To help with this, here are three tips that may help you know how to talk to your kids about controversial issues either in their personal lives or around the world.
Helping To Differentiate Between Facts and Opinions
Controversial topics can quickly become more about arguing than about the real issue at hand if you find it hard to differentiate between the facts and personal opinions. So to help your kids know how to navigate around certain subjects, Marsha Rakestraw, a contributor to HumaneEducation.org, suggests focusing on learning skills of critical thinking that will be beneficial in differentiating between facts and opinions. Once your child is able to breakdown an argument into what is fact and what is opinion, they’ll find it easier to find the core of the issue and form their own informed opinion.
Teaching How to Use Safe Dialogue
If you want to have open-minded children who are able to discuss controversial topics with others without feeling attacked or being on the attack, its important to first teach them how to speak about controversial issues. Tolerance.org recommends stressing the use of safe dialogue when speaking on controversial subjects. This means that your children are able to disagree without being disagreeable, they know how to control their tone and volume, and they know how to listen to others without expressing judgement or disdain. If your children learn how to speak safely with others, they can discuss almost any topic without apprehension.
Present a Balanced View
Because many children will first be exposed to certain controversial topics in the home, its important for you to help them gain a full understanding of these topics by presenting a balanced view of the issues. Emily Christensen, a contributor to KSL.com, explains that parents should attempt to present a balanced view by expressing what both sides of the argument think before sharing their own opinion. Once your opinion is shared, be sure you explain why you think that. This will help your child in preparing his or her own opinion and then feeling confident to also discuss why they hold that opinion.
Almost every news article you see daily has some basis in a controversial issue. If you’ve had trouble talking to your kids about these issues, consider using the tips mentioned above to make these conversations easier on both sides.