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SEARCH’s Program Managers Provide Their Advice on Talking to Your Children About Homelessness #4

Eva Thibaudeau, LCSW -Engagement Services, Program Manager

The homelessness topic can be frightening to young children and intimidating for parents to explain. We see people on the streets, they may be dirty and many have serious mental illness. We struggle, ourselves, to understand what to do. Yet, we need to respond to our children’s questions about what they see, because we want to teach them that it is not alright to look past other human being’s suffering.

By developing honest, direct and age appropriate answers, we cultivate compassion in our children. By acknowledging that homelessness is sad and sometimes scary even to grown-ups, we show our children that, even though we don’t always have the answers, we want to be part of finding the solution. By having conversations with them, we empower them to be part of the solution with us. We live our personal values by acknowledging the existence of those among us who are different, who are in pain, who are homeless. Because they are not nameless. They are homeless.

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