Sunday, January 12, 2020

How To Talk To Your Children About Immigration

Immigration is an incredibly difficult subject to talk about. Many people have been touched by immigration in one way or another, whether it has happened to themselves or their family, or they know someone who has to go through the process. It can mean that it stirs up lots of emotive feelings, not all of them welcome. However, it is an important subject to talk about, particularly if you are encouraging your children to grow up to be empathetic and caring members of their community. If it is something that they are likely to face, or someone close to them is going to face, it can help them to get the answers to any questions that they may have and make it all seem a little less daunting and confusing. However, when it is such a big thing for an adult to get their head around, how can we make it easier for children? Here, we look at how to talk to your child or children about immigration.

Image credit: Pixabay CC0 License

Use straightforward and clear language.

Like the majority of legal concepts, immigration comes with a lot of technical terms and jargon, all of which can be very confusing for even an adult to understand. If a child is bombarded with words and phrases they do not understand, alongside a vast concept, it can make them switch off and become unwilling to learn, or even frightened about the topic. Instead, use language that is clear and child-friendly, while not infantilising it. You may want to avoid words such as ‘illegal immigrants’ and use terms such as ‘undocumented’ instead.

Find out what they already know.

Immigration is such a big topic, and it is very hard to avoid hearing or reading about in the media. You may be surprised about just how much your child or children already know. However, they may also have picked up some inaccurate information from playground conversations, or misreading/hearing/understanding what they have come across. Before you bring up the topic, gently try to tease out what they already know, and, just as importantly, what they want to know.

Focus on the people that help.

When we talk about immigration, we can often be talking very negatively, about the people that they may be moving away from, or the people that may be stopping them from settling in a new place. It is important to talk to your child or children about the people that are helping someone in the immigration process, such as the attorneys from Davis & Associates. Demonstrate that there are good people out there, helping and righting the wrongs.

Encourage and bring in empathy.

This obviously depends on the age and emotional levels of your child or children, but perhaps ask them to think about how they may feel if they were separated from their families in a strange place. Encourage them to talk about their feelings - encouraging empathy is more likely to make them want to do something positive in the future to help!

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