Diversity can be a difficult subject to approach for many parents. Because the topic is often uncomfortable, many parents choose to ignore it completely and let their children come to their opinions and attitudes on their own. It is much better for parents or guardian to leverage the direct influence they have over a child’s developing behavior to shape their opinions and attitudes in the right direction. Children can and nearly always do pick up behaviors not only from you, but from those around them at school. Illustrating exactly what makes people diverse and how to approach others who see diversity negatively is an important moral lesson that your child will take with them through the rest of their life.
How Children See Others
Children are naturally drawn to one another, no matter their differences. At a very young age, they may not question why someone has a different skin color or speaks in a different way, whether that is because of a speech impediment or a different native language. However, expect the conversation to come up at some point— and be prepared for it. Just because you think your child treats everyone equally no matter what they look or sound like doesn’t mean they don’t have questions about it. When they ask you about differences, they aren’t being critical – just observant and curious. You should be excited when your child approaches you with this conversation before you have to bring it up.
Using Books to Demonstrate Diversity
There are many books and resources geared toward teaching children about diversity. Whether nonfiction or fiction, these books can help them understand why everyone can be different while still being equal. Sitting with your child and helping them understand the messages in these material, along with answering any questions they have about specific instances of diversity, can shed some much-needed light and give them guidance for the future. Establishing the importance of diversity at a young age is essential for helping children forge lasting bonds with all types of people.