How to Prepare Your Child for a World Full of Prejudice

Five tips for raising children who are accepting of human differences

How to Prepare Your Child for a World Full of PrejudiceMany — possibly most — kids will be taunted at some point in their childhood, whether based on race or a litany of other factors like gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, physical condition, social class, wardrobe, academic or athletic abilities, and so on.

When my daughter was racially taunted at school, a blasé Grade 6 lunchroom monitor (also Asian) informed her, “You’ll survive — I did.” Though a tad dismissive, there was wisdom to her words. Because it’s true: we want to raise survivors, not kids who fall apart whenever a hurtful word is flung at them.

Here are some ways to help your kids ignore the ignorant:

  • Empower Them Kids who speak up — at the dinner table, in the classroom — are comfortable challenging language they find offensive, whether directed at themselves or others.
  • Share Your Own Story Hey, guess what kiddo, that annoying insult was around when mom was growing up too! And as people get older, most realize using it just makes them look like jerks, so they stop.
  • Don’t Over-Emphasize Assimilation Research has shown that kids who maintain their cultural and religious practices gain resiliency when faced with discrimination, says educator Luigi Iannacci.

    There’s nothing wrong with trying to fit in, but it can be done without abandoning sign language for lip reading or avoiding temple.

  • Sign Them up for Sports Athletic involvement improves self-esteem and confidence as well as the cardio and muscle endurance so essential during brawls (kidding!).
  • Develop a Sense of Humour Not for offensive jokes, silly! A good sense of humour can help your kids shake off slights, make friends, reduce stress and enjoy better psychological health.

For more advice on handling prejudice check out:

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