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7/9/21 blog post

6 ways to foster resilience in BIPOC children 

Think back to a challenging event in your life. Sometimes you can still feel that “pit” in your stomach, your sweaty hands, and the beating of your heart. That is your body’s stress response.

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) experience this stress response frequently due to personal experiences of racism and discrimination as well as witnessing these events. The term Racial Trauma (or race-based stress) was coined to understand the emotional and physical symptoms of BIPOC children/families due to frequent occurrences of racism and discrimination, directly and indirectly experienced. Racial trauma/stress can manifest in children in a multitude of ways including anxiety, trouble focusing, behavioral issues, emotional regulation challenges, mistrust, hypervigilance, as well as others.

Racial trauma/race-based stress should be placed “on our sleeves”. It can impact BIPOC children’s behaviorally, emotionally, and physically. Though racial trauma is a significant concern, it is possible to reduce the effects of racial stress on BIPOC children. It is important to understand ways to foster resilience in BIPOC children for both BIPOC and non-BIPOC (white) parents/caregivers/allies.

6 ways to foster resilience in BIPOC children 

  1. Foster a strong racial identity and sense of self in BIPOC children: The American Psychological Association has an excellent website about the RESilience Initiative. It provides resources for parents and caregivers to support the process of racial and ethnic socialization. To learn more, view the website
  2. Explore and share BIPOC mental health support including community care, self-directed care, and cultural care: The 2021 BIPOC Mental Health Awareness month theme is Strength in Communities. They have a toolkit exploring these different areas of support.
  3. Actively talk to your children about race and inclusion: The website is a great resource for parents who aim to raise children to be thoughtful and “brave about race”.
  4. Engage in self-care: Parents are frequently encouraged to sacrifice themselves for their children. However, a parent’s personal well-being can significantly impact their children. The website has several resources focused on self-care and why it is incredibly important.
  5. Seek a culturally competent mental health professional, if needed.If you are concerned that racial stress is impacting your child’s abilities at home and at school, please seek consult from a culturally competent mental health professional. Please see this website when attempting to find a provider:
  6. Share other ideas to assist with racial trauma with BIPOC families on social media. Feel free to use the #OnOurSleeves hashtag to help others connect to the resources you share.


Want to learn more? Join the On Our Sleeves movement!

Kids don’t wear their thoughts on their sleeves. Help us break the stigma and gives kids a voice. Join the movement for children’s mental health.

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