Teaching your child to accept others is one of the most important jobs that you have as a parent. Encouraging your little one to be friendly, thoughtful, and kind is no easy task. Children learn by observation. If we’re kind and friendly, if we accept others viewpoints, our children will see that. They will emulate that behavior, at least we hope that they will.
With childhood comes teasing, or bullying – it is inevitable to a certain extend. A bit of teasing is sort of a rite of passage. While it breaks the heart of every parent, it is part of life’s lessons. Nothing we can do will prepare our children for dealing with being teased. Being singled out for being different is unkind. What can we do?
Teaching Your Child to Accept Others
I believe that children learn exactly what they are taught. They behave exactly as their parents are raising them. If you hit your child, then say “we don’t hit people.” What message are you sending? The same can be applied to name calling and teasing. If you talk down to your child, they will talk down to others and make fun of them.
One of our greatest responsibilities as parents is to teach our children that everyone is different – that is why some of us have blue eyes, brown hair, are very tall, or wear glasses. What makes us all special and unique is our differences and we must learn to accept others.
As a society, we force gender roles onto our children by purchasing certain toys and specific colored clothing. Those same gender roles are pushed onto children the day they are brought home – sometimes even sooner. We call our daughters princesses and dress them in pink and purple. Our sons are called Lil’ Slugger and outfitted in blue and red. You can see the differences on the playground – boys gravitating to trucks, girls to dolls. That is our doing. But forcing gender roles isn’t necessarily a good thing. Many boys love shiny, sparkly things – because they are children. And sparkles are fun. I’ve seen several girls play with trucks – because they are children. And trucks are fun.
Boy or girl. Black or white. Blonde hair or brown. Adults need to do a much better job teaching children to accept others.
How are you teaching your child to accept others?
This post was inspired by the memoir Raising My Rainbow by Lori Duron as she shares her journey raising a gender creative son. Join From Left to Write on September 5 as we discuss Raising My Rainbow. As a member, I received an advance copy of the book for review purposes.
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