Infants as young as 3 months begin to instinctively categorize people based on their sex, skin color, and the language they speak. Between 5 and 10 months babies begin to learn about race based on experience. Furthermore, 3-5 year-olds not only categorize people by race but express bias based on it. Overcoming these types of inherent prejudice will take a proactive effort on your part, and it needs to start early, before your child’s opinions are fully formed.

Tolerance is an absolute necessity in our increasingly global and multicultural society. So-called racial and ethnic minorities now make up the mafority of children born in the U.S. By the year 2043, nearly half of the population will be people of color, according to recent Census projections. Our nation is becoming more diverse in other ways too. Islam and Mormonism are among America’s fastest growing religions. Same-sex marriage is legal in 37 states plus the District of Columbia. More than 35 million people now speak Spanish as their primary language at home. And our school system is increasingly placing children with disabilities in regular rather than specialized classrooms.

Today’s kids are going to have to interact with people from many backgrounds and cultures, as well as with those who do not look or act like they do. Celebrating diversity, not merely tolerating it, is going to be the key to their success. In our upcoming posts we will give you some steps you can take to teach your children how to be open-minded towards others.

Check out part one of this series of raising a respectful child. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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