Teach Children Tolerance

23 March, 2024 | BY ADMIN

Teach Children Tolerance

How can we raise the next generation to be open-minded and accepting? Parents and teachers have a vital role to play in helping children grow up without prejudice and learn empathy. Learning about tolerance is not a passive acceptance of things we don’t like; rather, it’s a powerful tool not only to achieve peace in our playgrounds but in our lives.

A good school with an inclusive culture will promote these qualities and help children become good human beings.

Talking About Tolerance:

One of the most important things we can do to raise a tolerant child is to model it ourselves. We may think of ourselves as tolerant people, but we make hundreds of judgments every day! Tolerance is when we disagree with someone without getting angry or upset.

Often, we can be outspoken with our own opinions—for example, about politics—and this can influence our children’s viewpoints. Instead, we should try to hold back and let children think for themselves. Look at newspapers, websites, and current affairs programs together and discuss what’s going on with well-placed questions such as, “Why do you think that happens?” or “What do you mean by that?”

Exposing Children to Differences:

Most of us hang out with people who are like ourselves in terms of race, culture, religion, and upbringing. But in a diverse world, it’s vital for children to meet and socialize with people from all walks of life.

Try arranging a playdate with a child who comes from a different background, or set up a penpal correspondence with someone in another country. Learn about other religions’ festivals and traditions, and try cooking some of their recipes or learning a song.

Using the Right Terminology:

It can be tempting to steer clear of potentially contentious issues, but raising tolerant children means not brushing things under the carpet. As parents, we need to be brave when tackling tricky subjects and hard questions.

It’s also important to counter stereotypes. For example, if your son tells you he can’t take a pink balloon from a party because it’s a girl’s color, tell him outright, ‘That’s not true.’ Use it as a perfect opportunity for a discussion.

Learning About Tolerance and Kindness Through the Book:

Books are brilliant for familiarizing children with different ways of life. Discussing them with your child can lead to some illuminating conversations where you tackle the issue of tolerance. Research also suggests that children exposed to more storybooks tend to be better at understanding the thoughts and emotions of other people.

Arguing Assertively:

Still, children will have disagreements and can get drawn into slinging insults rather than arguing their opinions assertively. Instead, teach your child how to stand their ground without resorting to personal attacks.

Try to encourage them to use ‘I’ statements (‘I feel angry when you make fun of me’) rather than ‘you’ accusations (‘You’re horrible and I hate you’); it’s these ‘you’ statements that can easily tip over into racism, sexism, or other discriminatory language.

If your child’s school has a  debate  club like Swarnim International School does, this is a brilliant place to learn the skills of arguing effectively.

Building self-esteem:

Hate and intolerance are almost always borne out of fear and insecurity. The best thing you can do to raise a tolerant child is to also raise a confident child. Love, praise, constructive criticism, openness, and realistic expectations will all help to foster their self-esteem and make them a more secure and tolerant person.

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