Nevertheless, our children are also growing up surrounded by people with narrow minds and big mouths. This renders our efforts to raise our children unbiased and broad-minded a little more challenging. Therefore, we made this list of ideas suggesting what you could do to make sure your child-rearing methods are adaptable to the demands of modern day life.
1. Tolerance is Taught in Subtle Ways
Children do not listen to what we say, but they do observe all our actions. Children observe and imitate. So, the best way to teach tolerance is by applying the “less talk more action” rule. In order to raise tolerant children, you have to become tolerant first. Embrace the world you live in and interact with people around you without prejudice.
2. Expose Your Children to Varieties
Your children have to learn that they live in a world of differences. Even if your immediate neighborhood is not multicultural, it’s always good to find ways to make sure your children start interacting with other people from different walks of life.
Make their world interesting and dynamic by taking them to play with children from different neighborhoods. If you can afford it, travel with them as much as you can. Let them watch foreign cartoons. Make sure they know that their toys and food and clothes were made some place far away from home. Show them that different cultures and different lifestyle choices are around each and every one of us. Your child will know that a monotone world where all people look the same, act the same and share the same views would be plain boring.
3. Noticing Differences Does not Mean Discrimination
Children are not born biased and they usually do not even have the ability to notice differences the way we do. However, as they grow, they start recognizing and categorizing things that surround them. This is completely normal and it is just the part of their mental development. It’s easier to understand when you differentiate, categorize and organize.
Do not panic when your child starts asking questions about why some people are different than others. Answer the questions rationally and in a way that your child will understand. Noticing that someone is different does not mean that that person should be treated in a discriminatory manner.
4. Introduce Your Children to Other Cultures and Different Lifestyles
This is actually very simple. All you have to do is buy different foods every now and then. Show your children pictures of beautiful places around the globe. Teach them some basics of geography. Introduce them to the world of foreign languages. Talk about other children who live elsewhere in the world. Take your children to the zoo and talk about different animals and where they come from, and where they used to live, and how they got here. Explain that not all families are the same which does not make them substantially different.
5. Keep It Natural and Simple
Don’t push too hard. Teaching tolerance should be the part of what you normally do when it comes to raising your children. Tolerance should be present in everything you do. When children ask questions, give simple answers. Make it look easy, because it is. It’s the lack of understanding and irrational fears that make it complicated.
Teaching your children tolerance is of utmost importance, because if you fail in doing so, your child’s adult life will be more difficult and deprived of all those wonderful things that make it worth living.
This should not be such an unusual task. Children realize quickly that they don’t want to live in a dull world surrounded by intolerance. They are born to feel this way. All you have to do is help them accept themselves the way they are, and embrace the world they live in.