How to Teach Your Children Tolerance
In order for your children to make a real difference in the world, it’s important that they start with a foundation of kindness and tolerance. Teaching your children tolerance allows them to approach everyone they meet with kindness and respect. These are just a few of the tools that can help teach your children tolerance with those they meet.
Answer Questions Honestly
Children are born not knowing the prejudices of older generations. They learn how to treat others through observing and learning from you and others they look up to. If your child asks you questions about those who behave or believe differently than you, answer them honestly and with kindness. Any attempts to change the subject or avoid discussing the matter could lead your child to believe that there is something wrong with how those people live their lives. Of course, you want to keep the discussions age-appropriate, but approach these conversations with an open mind and tolerant attitude. For example, if you are in a heterosexual relationship, and your child asks about why their friend has two mothers or fathers, be honest with them. Tell them that sometimes men fall in love with men and women fall in love with women. Presenting it as a normal and understandable occurrence allows them to see it as such, and not develop negative and hurtful attitudes toward members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Lead By Example
Ultimately, your child watches your every move. If you treat everyone with kindness and respect, they will learn to do the same. Additionally, if you gossip about those who are different from you and your child overhears, they will believe these things as well. Make an effort to be the person you want your child to grow up to be. Treat everyone you encounter with kindness and tolerance. Show your child what tolerant behavior is, and how to be an ally toward other communities.
Expose Them to Diversity
If your child grows up surrounded by diversity, encountering people who look, behave, and believe differently from them will be a normal experience. If you live somewhere with a lot of diversity, this can be a helpful head start. However, if your community is mostly made up of individuals who look and believe the same as you, you can introduce your child to diversity in other ways. There are countless books, movies, and television shows that can teach your child about other cultures and ways of life. Help them learn about these other cultures, and what makes them beautiful and special in their own ways.
All parents do their best to raise children that will make the world a better place. A big part of this is teaching children tolerance and acceptance of all cultures and people. Raising kind and tolerant children will lead them to make the world a better place in their own unique ways.
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