By Marlee Ginter

ELK GROVE (CBS13) — Disturbing images of violent hate crimes against Asian-Americans can’t be avoided, but discussing them with children may not be easy.

“They are young, they don’t see it.  They don’t see the colors that adults may see,” said Elk Grove parent Thao Do.

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Do teaches her kids how to play cards and how to ride a bike, but perhaps one of the toughest lessons is teaching them about racism.

“He heard it on the news.  He heard it when I would talk to my friends about it.  And he did ask, ‘what is racism?’  So I told him,” said Do.

Do remembers an anti-Asian moment at the beginning of the pandemic when she was getting into an elevator with her six-year-old.

“Like they had to pull everyone away from us like we were a disease.  And it made me feel bad.   Even though I wasn’t physically hurt, it really hurt me inside,” said Do.

“My heart really goes out to them and the community.  It’s been a really, really tough time,” said licensed psychologist Dr. Sheava Zadeh.

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Dr. Zadeh says while parents often feel the need to explain everything, in this case, it’s important to be the listener so you don’t unintentionally give your child something to be anxious about.  She came up with the acronym PEARLS for these tough discussions.

She tells parents to be prepared to explain, answer, reassure, listen and safeguard their child.

“Most of all you want to provide reassurance.  Because if a child doesn’t feel safe, you’re going to see a lot of behaviors.  You’re going to see anger, you’re going to see anxiety,” said Dr. Zadeh.

Parents like Do are always quick to nurture their children but know that you can’t always shield them.

“They’re starting to understand that it is wrong.  And they know now that they should speak up against it and I think that’s very important,” said Do.

Dr. Zadeh also recommends giving teens a positive outlet when dealing with hate, like a cause or movement to follow on social media.

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You can read more advice for parents on her site Pamper Your Brain.