Do you remember meeting someone who looked different from you? Whether their hair color was drastically different, maybe they towered over you even though you were both the same age or maybe their skin color was different to yours – whatever the difference, if you were a child, you may have just taken note, thought “that’s neat” and continued playing together. For many, it’s only as we grow and develop with external influences that people start to see negativity in the interesting differences that make us human.
Children are born innocent, accepting and tolerant and cultivating these natural personality traits is easy if you are a tolerant and accepting individual yourself. Should you hold your own prejudices, it’s important to work to let go of the stress of unacceptance and embrace your fellow humans.
If you are worried about your children losing their accepting nature as they grow older, you can encourage their tolerance in the following ways.
Arranging Group Playdates
Whether you are inviting classmates home, organizing a party at a soft play center or simply arranging a get-together while the parents talk over coffee, encouraging and organizing meet-ups with other children from all walks of life and backgrounds helps foster a child’s acceptance and proves to them that appearances and background mean little when compared to an individual’s personality and good nature.
Teach Them About the World
The world doesn’t stop at the edge of town, although many children probably think they do, considering how small their world seems to them. Educate and teach your children about others around the world, children their age growing up in different cultures and backgrounds. Education is key to prevent prejudice caused by misunderstanding.
Teaching your children to be gracious, grateful and giving with their own successes can help grow and develop their understanding, tolerance and good nature and helps to make the world a better place in general. Whether you choose to organize a charity drive with your child’s school or give back as a family by taking part in an ongoing project, for example sponsoring an orphan campaign on this website or donating aid to build a school or medical center, helping worthwhile causes is a great way to promote acceptance.
Be Aware of What You Say
Children are intuitive – they can pick up on the emotions and stresses of those around them and are always listening, so be careful what you say! Even if what you’re talking about holds no value and you have made an unintentional remark, children are unquestioning and can easily hone in on this. Therefore, you should do your best to keep this in mind when talking about anything that could ignite intolerance in your children.
Help Your Child Feel Better About Themselves
We are often least tolerant of ourselves and our own mistakes, coming down harder on ourselves than anyone around us. Teach your child to love themselves and the things that make them who they are, whether it’s a cultural background, physical characteristic or personality trait. A child who lacks self-confidence has a greater tendency to lash out at others so help your child grow their confidence and self-respect in order to grow their tolerance and respect of others in turn.
Children are always watching to see how their elders act and behave and will often model themselves after their parent’s behavior and mannerisms. The strongest method of teaching your child to hold on to their tolerant and accepting nature is to show the importance of these traits and behave as you would wish your child to.