Thursday, December 14

Teaching Your Children Tolerance And Compassion

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Many parents teach their children things that they could as well be taught in school – reading, writing, counting, etc. They often forget that they should also teach their offspring tolerance and compassion. Children are easily affected by the adults they’re in constant contact with. What is right or wrong for their parents, is often right or wrong for them. This article gives tips to parents who want to raise their children to become good people.

  1. Be tolerant and compassionate yourself. This is one of the most important things, as children are very perceptive and they will notice if their parents do or do not make a big deal of someone else’s skin color, faith, or anything else that makes them different. Children will see if someone’s skin color is different from theirs, but they will not automatically label that person as their enemy, especially if they notice that their parents don’t do that. They will only be curious. It is up the parents whether curiosity turns into hostility or not.

  2. Talk to your children. As mentioned above, children are very curious. They want to learn about many things because they are only just starting to know the world around them. And it so happens that this world is populated by people of different skin colors, nationalities, sexual orientations, religious beliefs, or interests. It’s good to talk to children about these things, all of them. It might be difficult, but it’s necessary, especially nowadays when some of these differences are hot topics worldwide. When talking about race it’s best to use as simple explanations as possible. For example, if your children ask why someone has very dark skin, just tell them that they or their parents were born in a country where there is really hot and that dark complexion protects people of that country from the sun. If your child sees two men or two women holding hands and inquires about it, tell them about love in as simple words as possible and say that there are different kinds of it. No need to get into details just yet. Children will not naturally hate people on the grounds of race or sexual orientation.

  3. Let your children decide what religion to follow once they’re old enough. It is very common that children follow the religious beliefs of their parents. Unfortunately, in most cases it’s only because they were raised in that religion from their youngest years and don’t know much about other religions or atheism. Religion is not something one can decide about when one’s an infant. Parents shouldn’t force their children to be religious, they should let them choose for themselves. And to choose for themselves, they need to be old enough. Secular upbringing will definitely benefit your children. It will let your children grow up with clear minds and the ability to decide what’s best for them. People are all too eager to explain many things with religion just because it’s convenient. A child should be neither a theist nor an atheist. Children simply shouldn’t be bothered with such issues.

  4. Keep a pet. It’s really important. If you have enough time to take care of a pet, do buy or adopt one. This is the first step in teaching your child that animals are not objects. A guinea pig or a puppy would probably be the best. A hamster might be too fragile for small children and a cat too dangerous because of its claws (although it’s possible to buy nail caps that prevent cats from scratching). Puppies tend to bite because of teething, but their bites are mostly harmless (even if a bit painful) and it’s possible to teach them not to bite people and focus on toys instead. Most children will love to own a pet and they will get attached to it. It will be a very rewarding experience for them. Parents shouldn’t expect their children to properly take care of their pets, though. It’s the adults who are fully responsible for them. Of course, owning a pet also often leads to the issue of death. Many good articles about dealing with it are available online. The best thing to do when a pet dies is to tell your children what physically happened to the pet – that it stopped breathing, that its heart stopped and that it was something that happened naturally and your children were not responsible for it. Tell your children that they should remember their pet and encourage them to draw it and talk about it. Don’t tell them that it’s nothing and they can just get a new one, this encourages children to see pets as objects that can be easily exchanged for new ones.

  5. Read to your children. And read to them books that teach tolerance and compassion. You can find lists of booksand picture booksthat teach tolerance and compassion on Amazon and other sites. Read reviews and choose titles that you consider appropriate. Children love it when their parents read to them and you can  teach your children important things through reading fun stories to them. It’s impossible to overestimate the power of a good book.

  6. Don’t be a control freak. Nowadays, children have access to television, the Internet, and video games. They will often see violence in them and you can’t prevent them from seeing it at all. If you’re a good parent and your try to raise your children to be good people, you don’t need to worry about them becoming violent because of any media. Watching excessive violence indeed might influence them, but exposure to reasonable amounts of it in films, or games is even advisable. You shouldn’t try to shelter them from reality. You should only make sure they know what is right and what is wrong. And what is fiction and what is reality. Just because your children enjoy playing rather violent video games doesn’t mean they would enjoy violence in real life. It’s forbidding children to play games and watch films that might actually make them become bitter and aggresive. You would do better playing or watching together with them from time to time instead.

Raising children is no easy task. Raising them to become good people is even more difficult. But it’s possible if you follow these guidelines and your own conscience. Just never forget that you are your children’s role model.


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