Talking With Children & Teens  About Hate and Intolerance


  • Acknowledge that hate groups exist and that their messages are threatening.
  • Keep children and teens away from the scene of hate demonstrations or events.  Find alternative and safe places to discuss the issues and voice opinions.
  • Let children and teens know that there are professionals who are trained to handle the situation and reassure them they are safe.
  • Recognize that children, especially those older than age nine, often are more aware of what’s happening in the news than parents realize. 
  • Take time to talk about your personal reactions in age-appropriate language.  It is helpful for children and teens to understand their parents’ perception of the situation. 
  • Encourage children and teens to talk about their feelings and help them find ways to express themselves in non-violent ways.  
  • Involve children and teens in deciding how to respond. When they are uncomfortable or outraged by a situation, it is comforting for them to voice their opinion.
  • Encourage respect for diversity by teaching understanding and talking in a positive way about differences.
  • Seek out multicultural activities, books or websites that encourage family participation.
  • Make children and teens aware of your disapproval if you hear them use insensitive language. 
  • Remember that you are a role model and you can teach your child tolerance and acceptance.

Additional Online Information

Additional Information by Phone

ParentLink Warmline

  • English 1-800-552-8522
  • Spanish  1-888-460-0008  

Information provided by: University of Missouri Department of Human Development and Family Studies College of Human Environmental Sciences