This week’s This Is Us premiere opened up with an intimate look at how the recent spate of Black death at the hands of police, such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s murders, is affecting the Pearson family, particularly Randall and Beth’s family.
During a roundtable with press, Sterling K. Brown and Susan Kelechi Watson told Shadow And Act that the episode provided multiple examples of how to talk about the tragedies and the activist movements to children who are also learning to cope with the stress of the moment.
Brown talked about how he’s been helping his five-year-old and nine-year-old children handle the news.
“Most things go over the five-year-old’s head, but the nine-year-old…it can’t be November 3 for this little homie quick enough,” he said. Even though both of his children are having different reactions to the events, Brown said there is always time to talk to his children, particularly his oldest child, about their concerns.
“Whatever pain, whatever frustration, whatever confusion there is, there is room and space for conversation with his parents,” he said. “And I think that is a very healthy and necessary thing. Because if you don’t talk to them through it, they’re going to figure it out on their own, whether it be peer groups or YouTubers and all this other stuff. So I’m happy we have a space reflected on the show as well–if they have questions, concerns, thoughts, we can get through this as a family.”
Watson also discussed how a similar experience was reflected in Malik (Asante Blackk)’s relationship with his father, who turned their grief over Trayvon Martin’s killing into a way to bond with each other. She also further supported Brown’s point by saying that it’s important for parents to know their children’s different personalities in order to give individualized help.
“You also have to know your child and which child you’re dealing with and how they are taking it in and what they need,” she said. “One thing I did like [about the scene with Beth and Randall’s family] was that there was one TV and they were watching it together. And when the child was like, ‘I can’t anymore,’ they heard that and as like, ‘Okay, let’s change the channel and give ourselves a break.'”
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.