Last night four people, including a 16-year-old teenager were arrested during a protest in Charlotte, NC. The Keith Scott decision that police wouldn’t be charged in his shooting death started the demonstration. When it comes to protests, you generally think of adults participating. The climate seems to be changing as younger people are getting involved in protests. Many parents are wondering how to handle this situation with their teens.
Keep in mind that teenagers want to be a part of the changing landscape of our country when it comes to rights, equality, freedom and solidarity. And they know there’s strength in numbers. One way to stand for a belief is through protesting.
If you and your teen decide that they can protest, then figure out safe ways that they can participate. They can join a school-sanctioned protest or lead the charge to start one at their school. Or, you can take them to a protest and let them watch from a safe distance. Here's the thing, for teenagers if their will is strong enough, they’ll find a way. So thinking that you can forbid them and it's the end of the subject may not be the case.
If your teen chooses to participate in a protest, give them tips on ways to stay safe. Watching body language cues of anger, including angry facial expressions, tone of voice, subtle body movements like jaw tension, fists clenching, facial sweating, skin blanching. Encourage them to have a exit plan, quick places to duck and escape and follow it when they feel that the crowd is getting out of control.
Blanca Cobb is a WFMY News 2 Contributing Editor, body language expert and keynote speaker/trainer who covers nonverbal communication, psychology and behavior. Follow her @blancacobb. The opinions expressed in this article are exclusively hers.
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