6 Ways You Can Teach Your Child Tolerance
6 ways parents can foster tolerance:
- Teach them love first.
Be an example of loving others despite and because of their differences. Seek to help others, even if they are different than you.
- Know your own values and biases.
No one is without biases or values of their own. It is important to evaluate our own personal beliefs, values, and differences we struggle to tolerate. Seek to understand those things more completely.
- Expose children to differences. Teach them they don’t have to agree to respect others.
The best way to increase understanding is to jump in. Libraries and bookstores can take a parent and child all over the world and back to their home in an afternoon. It’s important to allow our children to explore the world and all its varieties of people, cultures, and views. This can allow a child to see your appreciation and respect for others while still allowing you to express your own views, values, and culture. It is important to note that it is not necessary to agree with or adopt all the differences we come to understand, but that we can always respect others for holding those values.
- Challenge stereotypes.
We do not live in a perfectly tolerant world, and there are many stereotypes and prejudices that are held and perpetuated in media, as well as in our interactions with others. It is important not to participate in jokes or other practices that foster stereotypes and degrade others. If we encounter such intolerance, parents can assertively tell their children, “That’s not true. Why don’t we learn a little more about that to better understand what is true.”
- Challenge yourself.
It’s easy to see things through our own personal lens. When others challenge our views or culture, it is easy to become defensive, which shuts us off to learning. It’s important to challenge personal defensiveness, and seek to see others’ point of view. Ask questions and listen before responding. Try to see things from the other person’s point of view. When children see this, they adopt this quality themselves.
- Foster your child’s self-esteem.
When children feel good about themselves, they don’t feel threatened by the differences of others. Children who are secure about themselves are more comfortable exploring and debating opposing views.