Parents trying to find ways to explain protests after George Floyd's death

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The sights and sounds of burning buildings, protesters and police in riot gear have many hurting, horrified and angry.

For children, it's also provoking a lot of questions.

"Why are people doing this," says Kobi Zepeda. "Why is it happening?"

Fred Zepeda brought his son, Kobi, to River Park on Friday to show him what a peaceful protest looked like, and to teach his son why people are so frustrated.

Demonstrators and police officers stood side by side on Tuesday, calling for change while condemning looting and violence.

"Hopefully he understands the why behind all this and what these people are here to do, and how police are here to help out," Fred said.

Chris Milton says with his two boys, he's straightforward.

"With a lot of transparency," he said. "If I sugar coat it, then I'm not doing them the justice on how to navigate through it."

But many parents are still struggling on how to start that talk about racism in the wake of George Floyd's death.

Crisis recovery specialists suggests a process called Psychological First Aid, in a which a parent listens to their child, protects them, finds someone they connect with, teach them about what's happening and keep calm.

"They are watching the expressions on your face," says Prof. Holly Proebe Sotelo. "They need to know that you are in control, even if you don't feel like you're in control"

School officials say with kids at home and not having their usual support system, they've made other resources available.

"So working at our county office to offer services through our website, working with county behavioral health to be sure there's counselors available," says Steve Tietjen with the Merced County Office of Education.

Zepeda may not have all the answers for Kobi, but he hopes Tuesday's peaceful protest helps him understand why people are standing up to injustice.

"Him coming out here and answering these questions, I hope he's learning something."
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