We want our children to have the gift of tolerance – that includes being tolerant of both situations and other people. We want children to be able to understand why people behave the way they do and why people say the things they say, without judgement.
This is especially important in a multi-cultural society given that everyone looks different and has cultural differences in the way they go about their lives. Where we were growing up this may not have been the case so we need to pass on the openness that we have now.
Three Ways to Encourage Tolerance
- Watch your words! Be a role model for your children – be careful about how we talk about others and treat everyone with the same level of respect.
- Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Ask your children how they feel when they are excluded from a game because of how they looked. This will remind them that you should not judge people by how they look and that a friend is a friend not matter what they wear.
- Discuss Difference. Ask your child what the differences between each member of your family are and how those individual traits compliment and make your family strong. Perhaps make a list. Most families have members who have varying opinions and views and react and behave in different ways. It does not mean we don’t like our family. We love them and are tolerant of them. Our children need to be the same with their friends and people they meet.
Give these a try with your children to encourage tolerance. Children often follow our example and if we behave this way it will send a message and promote tolerant behaviour.