paper note with writing 'Don't judge a book by the cover', pinned on cork board

Every day we are exposed to many different people. Some of these people will be like us and some won’t because we all look different, speak differently, their accents are not the same, their mannerisms, their experiences etc. There are no two people in the world that are the same, although there are similarities so we need to be careful about how we interact with them and how we think about about them. What we don’t want to do is judge them.

Often when we meet someone new we do tend to judge. Who is this person? We listen to how they speak – their tone, their accent, the words they use and form an opinion about them quickly. We look at what they are wearing, their hairstyle, make up, their skin. We can make many judgements in a split second about someone else and we may be wrong, so it’s really unfair to do this. So how can we stop judging and how can we parents stop our children from doing the same?

How To Stop Judging

  1. As well as trying to be role models for our children by not judging people on first impressions, we can teach them to see the person and not the outer layer.
  2. We can encourage our children to talk to people and get to know them, despite them not liking one of the things they see or hear. We can teach them that having a different accent does not make someone ‘chavvy’, ‘common’ or ‘posh’. They can still be friends with someone from a different social background.
  3. We can get them to see that wearing clothes that aren’t that fashionable does not mean the person doesn’t care about themselves or has the ‘wrong’ taste. Some children may think certain clothes signal wealth (or lack of).

Judging the outer layer only often happens when children are looking to make friends. They see the exterior and say ‘this person is not for me’ or ‘they are not like me’. They are often surprised when they start talking to find that they are actually their kind of person and have the traits they may be looking for in a friend.

So, let’s hold the judgment about others and start with the dialogue first!