About Michael Genhart, PhD

Michael Genhart, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in San Francisco. He is the acclaimed author of many picture books, including Love is Love, I See You, Ouch! Moments, So Many Smarts!, Cake & I Scream!, Mac & Geeez!, Peanut Butter & Jellyous, among other titles. He lives with his rainbow family in Marin County, California.

Ouch! Moments: Strategies to Help Your Child Understand Microaggressions

You may have heard the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But the fact is, words can hurt. Young people have a wonderful capacity to care about each other. However, they need guidance, mentoring, and modeling to understand the impact of their words and behaviors. ...the fact is, words can hurt. Magination Press book, Ouch! Moments: When Words Are Used in Hurtful Ways by Michael Genhart, PhD, illustrated by Viviana Garofoli, helps to increase awareness in children about what “ouch moments” are, how and where they occur, and what kids can do about them. This excerpt from the book’s Note to Parents and Caregivers, by Kevin L. Nadal, PhD, provides information about microaggressions and strategies for parents to help their children understand them. What Are Microaggressions? Microaggressions, or “ouch moments” are brief exchanges where an indignity, insult, or slight is expressed—whether intentionally or not—from one person to another (especially towards members of minority or oppressed groups). Microaggressions are often subtle. The children expressing them may not even realize that they are being biased or offensive. For example, when a child is left out of a playgroup or friendship circle because they are different, that child may be ridiculed directly, or the exclusion may be more subtle. When the exclusion is more subtle, it can be difficult to prove that it is based on one of the child’s identities (such as race, social class, or ability status). The child excluded can often feel marginalized, isolated, and rejected without understanding why. Certain words or phrases that some people might view as harmless can also be microaggressions. For instance, when children use words like “lame” or “gay” to mean that something is bad, weird, or different, they communicate a message that having a disability or being part of the LGBTQ community is equal to being bad, weird, or different. These children are likely not trying to be hurtful toward these groups, they may just be repeating words they have heard and may not realize the discriminatory connotations. However, for children with disabilities or those who are questioning their sexual orientation, or children with LGBTQ parents, hearing words like these can be quite hurtful and may teach them to internalize negative messages about their identities. Many microaggressions are based on gender. Most girls and boys are taught the importance of conforming to certain gender roles such as boys aren’t supposed to cry or girls are supposed to be demure. Because these gender roles are so pervasive in our society, women and men tend to internalize these norms well into their adult lives.  What Parents and Caregivers Can Do Research on microaggressions between adults shows that these “ouch moments” often result in problems like depression and low self-esteem. Talking about these instances with your child is one way that you can promote your child’s psychological health and wellbeing and help her or him avoid internalizing hurtful messages. When your child is the target of a microaggression

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Ouch! Moments: Strategies to Help Your Child Understand Microaggressions 2020-07-17T19:02:24-04:00