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Teaching Tolerance

Along with your child’s growing list of activities comes a growing list of friends. He seeks a sense of belonging and acceptance from peers, and these friendships are a vital part of his development. These friendships will be important later in life too as they provide the roadmap for future relationships, teaching him to resolve conflict and get along with others. Here are some ideas that will help your child learn tolerance for others.

Be honest

Encourage children to “see” color. Don’t tell children that we are all the same. Rather, discuss differences openly and highlight diversity by choosing picture books, toys, games and videos that feature diverse characters in positive, non-stereotypical roles.

Embrace curiosity

Be careful not to ignore or discourage your youngster’s questions about differences among people, even if the questions make you uncomfortable. not being open to such questions send the message that difference is negative.

Broaden choices

Be careful not to promote stereotypical gender roles, suggesting that there are certain games, sports or activities that only girls can do or only boys can do.

Foster pride

Talk to your child about your family heritage to encourage self-knowledge and a positive self-concept.

Lead by example

Widen your circle of friends and acquaintances to include people from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences.

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References

Teaching Tolerance “Principles to remember with children ages 6-12″ Southern Poverty Law Center http://www.tolerance.org/publication/beyond-golden-rule/principles-remember-children-ages-6-12-0

Teaching Tolerance “A Time for Social Growth” Southern Poverty Law Center http://www.tolerance.org/publication/beyond-golden-rule/time-social-growth