Archive for the ‘Growing Up’ Category

Keep your child exposed to diversity regularly.

Many studies have found that the more contact people of all ages have with those from backgrounds that are different from their own, the less likely they are to be biased. Some parents have choosen preschools for their children where half of the children had physical disabilities. There is a belief that in doing this and exposing them to special needs kids would make them more accepting of all kinds of people. Some have carried this onto choosing kindergarten for their children. While others have mixed it up a bit choosing a Spanish immersion school or choosing schools where the white to black mix is 50 to 50. By doing this as they get older and move into middle school and high school they will feel comfortable around all kinds of different people and show respect to them equally. 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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Diversity

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Lead Your Child By Example

For your child to become truly open minded toward all kinds of people, you need to be a positive role model. In a study done in Child Development, the lone factor shown to reduce children’s prejudice was whether their parents had a friend of another race. If you say, “We should be friends with all kinds of people”, but the only ones who come over for dinner are those who look like you, what is your child going to think?

There are a lot of parents that talk a good game about embracing diversity, yet subtly communicate something totally different. Do you laugh when you hear a joke about a racial group? Are you willing to point out intolerance when you see it? We know that kids learn from what they see more than from what they hear. Check out one of our recent posts on respect. 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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Diverse Dinner

You should also be honest about the fact that discrimination still exists. If you talk about past inequalities and then tell your child that we have fixed that and we are all equal now, it can actually encourage prejudicial beliefs because children will see remaining inequalities as the result of how hard people work. Instead, talking honestly about systematic racial bias, like how wealth inequity is not a reflection of an individual’s efforts, but rather tied to the legacy of discrimination can help your child to understand that these are not individual issues.

Research bears this out. Elementary school children read biographies of famous African Americans. One group’s stories included details about how the person had encountered forms of racial discrimination and the other group did not. Afterward, the kids whose books included the true historical context found the subjects more likable and sympathetic.

Check out one of our more recent posts on 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. A quick reminder that all of our Halloween children’s books on the website are now on sale.

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Halloween Doodles

 

Explain to them about stereotypes and racism.

Kids already have certain biases about other cultures by the age of 5 or 6. Do not be surprised if your child repeats something derogatory that they heard at school and asks, “Why do Muslims hate America?” or perpetuates a stereotype by saying, “All Jews are rich.” When they do, let them know that while some people in a group may seem to fit a certain description it does not mean that everyone is that way. This is your cue to introuce the idea of discrimination: “Sometimes people decide that everyone with dark skin is mean or that people who are not white are bad. That is wrong, and it makes me sad. It is not fair to judge someone without knowing him or her.”

Bring up the stereotypes that your child sees in movies or on TV. If you turn the sound off on a cartoon show and ask who is the good guy and who is the bad guy, kids know instantly by the way that the characters appear. The solution is not to stop watching but to point out the problems you see. For example, you could watch The Little Mermaid, with its emormous villian, Ursula. Then say, “It is a shame that overweight characters are depicted as evil. I know lots of nice people who are heavy.” See more of our posts on, 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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Bonding

Recognize the fact that your child is not color blind. Experts think that one big mistake that parents make (especially white American parents) is assuming that their children are unaware of race. We always hear, Oh, my child does not even see skin color, but the truth is that kids absolutely do notice.

As your children grow, look for cues about what different appearances mean and which ones matter. They will quickly realize that some things, whether someone wears a hat, for instance, are irrelevant while others, such as sex are significant because we talk about them constantly (“Boys line up on the left, girls on the right”). What about race? Obviously, we do not say, “Good morning, black and white children,” or Asians go get your backpacks.” But even if you never say a word about ethnicity, racial distinctions are plainly visible to kids. Many communities are highly segregated, which children notice. You will be driving through town and your preschooler is thinking, Oh, here is where the Chinese people live.

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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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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Treating people of all races and backgrounds honorably is not just politically correct, it is the right thing to do, the respectful thing.

When my 4-year-old son, David, started flipping out about going to preschool, I thought it was typical first day jitters. Then he told me the reason: I do not want a teacher with brown skin. Our family who is white and live in a diverse neighborhood in Northwest Indiana. I must admit I was a bit horrified and confused. He had been around people of many races before. Our neighbor who had babysat for David before when he was a toddler is African American. But his new teacher whom he had met before at the school orientation was from Africa, so I think it had more to do with her accent. Concerned I turned to a psychologist who was also a family friend. I was reassured that little David was not being a racist.

It is natural for young kids to notice differences in a person’s appearance and manner of speaking, and to express curiosity or even fear about them. Many of us can probably share a comparably mortifying moment, whether it was our kid’s insensitive comment about someone in a wheelchair or an objectionable question about why a classmate of Asian descent has “squinty” eyes. In our upcoming posts we will share some steps with you that you can take to teach your child how to be open minded. 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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