Psychologist offers advice when talking to your child ahead of W - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Psychologist offers advice when talking to your child ahead of Wednesday's expected school walkouts


Wednesday, students across the country will remember the lives lost in Parkland.

At 10:00 am, some students will walk out of their classrooms, for 17 minutes... one minute for each of the people who died. 

"Freedom of speech is sort of the bedrock of this country and so, being able to encourage them to stand up and fight for what they believe in is really important and I think important for kids to hear that we support them in that," says Dr. Jessica Luitjohan, a pediatric psychologist.

Mental health professionals say having a conversation with your child is important. 

They add each family is different, so where you start with your child depends on the talks you've had about this topic so far. 

"Helping them think through the consequences of what they're doing so that they're aware that if they do walk out that there might be some consequences that go with that, punishment from the school perspective," says Dr. Luitjohan. 

But, Dr. Luitjohan says it's important to support your child and their decision as well. 

"On the other hand, like I said, I think it's important to fight for what you believe in and what you're passionate about. And so, if that is worth the consequence that they know then they should be going into it with their eyes open that 'I know what could happen and I'm still ready for that, this is what I want to do,'" says Dr. Luitjohan. 

School officials also encourage talking to your children ahead of the protest. 

"Just talk about the history of demonstrations or walkouts or protests and I think how powerful they can be done when they're done in a meaningful, respectful, positive manner," says Jen Gomez, Director of Student Services and equity education.

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