4 Tips For Raising a Tolerant Child
Each generation seems to be a lot more tolerant than the one before it. The world is becoming a better place for everyone to live, and although there is still plenty of discrimination out there, things are moving in the right direction. Movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter have brought awareness of the long standing issues of sexism and racism to a wider audience and have caused many people to take action.
By the time your child is fully grown, people of all races, beliefs, genders and identities will be living in an even more tolerant society than they do now. But this change must begin with education. And while your little one is still young, it is up to you, the parent, to facilitate this learning. To help shape your kid into the best person they can be, here are four tips for raising a tolerant child.
Confront your own prejudices
Nobody is perfect, but you can’t teach your child proper values and attitudes if you don’t embody them yourself. We are all products of our own upbringing, so take a hard introspective look at yourself to determine whether you harbour any outdated beliefs or prejudices. Work hard to challenge these and be careful to avoid unconsciously projecting these onto your child. The last thing you want to do is taint their views and risk passing on your prejudices.
Challenge discriminatory comments
If your child picks up derogatory language or unpleasant attitudes from their classmates, you need to put a stop to this right away. If you hear any such comments you should firmly chastise your child and explain to them why this is wrong. It is also a good idea to take this further by having words with the other child’s teacher or parents. Your little one will soon learn that this behaviour is unacceptable.
Avoid gender stereotypes
Most parents nowadays were raised in a time where gender was seen as very much a binary concept. Boys did boy things and girls did girl things. But in 2022 this is an outdated perception, as there is a huge spectrum of identities a child might inhabit. Avoid projecting gender stereotypes onto your children. If your daughter wants to join the football team, encourage and praise her for her athletic ability. And if your son prefers to sit in his room and play with his Bratz collection, be supportive.
Give straight answers
A lot of parents feel they have to shelter their kids from the world, giving them watered-down answers to sincere questions. You may find some issues embarrassing or taboo to talk about with a young child, but you should educate them as early as possible. Children are often straightforward in their questions, so be straightforward with your answer. If they ask you about their friend’s same-sex parents, explain sexuality to them in a clear way. If they wonder why the girl next door is in a wheelchair, have a frank discussion about disability. Being upfront will prevent stereotypes from forming and cultivate a more tolerant attitude.