How to explain the Derek Chauvin trial to children: Triangle mom, mental health expert weigh in

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As if virtual learning isn't hard enough, some parents are grappling with how to talk to their children about Black lives, police brutality and the Derek Chauvin trial.

Mebane resident, Mallory Thorton is already having this conversation with her four-year-old son, Mari. He attended demonstrations in downtown Raleigh holding a sign that read: "Please don't shoot I'm only four years old."

"He asked me, 'Why are the police killing us?' I can't respond because I don't know baby," said Thorton. "I fear he won't make it to see ten years old. I fear if I do allow my son to go outside by himself or play with his friends, he may not make it back home. He has a nerf gun. What if someone mistakes that gun for a real gun?"

Mari enjoys everything kids his age like to do, but given the racial climate and what he's seen on television, he has questions four year olds typically don't ask.

Mental health experts say if your kids are asking questions about the Chauvin trial or police brutality, you owe them an answer.

Dr. Nerissa Price, medical director for WakeMed Physician Practices Wellbeing Initiatives, offered tips on how to have this conversation.

"Parents should check in with their feelings and thoughts about the trial. They must develop a plan. You want to make sure you have dedicated time and limited distractions. You also want your comments to be age appropriate for your child. You should ask your child what they know about the trial, what they've heard and what their feelings are," said Price.

While Mari is too young to fully understand the magnitude of this moment, his mother said she'll continue the conversation because one day, they could save his life.

"Not all cops are bad. That's all I can say," said Thorton.
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