MODERN PARENTING: When Should You Teach Children to be Tolerant?

Modern Parenting
March 18, 2019

Racism, discrimination, bigotry, inequality… These things aren’t new to modern day America. Our country has faced these challenges since before most of us were born. Despite the massive strides we’ve made over the years, it’s clear - especially today - that the worst may not be behind us. And as such, it’s one more thing to add to a parent’s list of challenges. How do we teach our children tolerance given our political climate?

Lifestyle and mommy blogger, Reese Jones (also known by her screenname, MomsieTipz_RJ) offers some advice on this very hot topic. Read on for 5 tips on teaching your kids to be tolerant.


Recent events have showed that the world is still very much experiencing alarming issues such as racism and negativity on a large scale. What’s worse is that they are affecting our children whether directly or through exposure to the mainstream media.

While it would be easy to say that a lot of this is due to how society is today, the fact remains that this kind of mentality starts at home. Thus, it’s vital to help kids to achieve an early understanding of such matters.

This article will take a look at when and how to teach tolerance to children.

Lead by example

Time and again, it has been emphasized that actions speak louder than words. And children start to process and absorb what’s happening around them as early as the time when they gain clear vision and hearing.By taking into account these two facts, you can already impart a sense of tolerance in your children through your own behavior. If you’re always displaying kindness and tolerance, then your kids will naturally learn to mimic your actions.

Be proactive and don’t avoid the issue

An article on Parents magazine explained that you can already give subtle hints about diversity to toddlers. You can use broad topics like the world and all the people in it to make things more interesting for your child.Michael D. Baran, Ph. D., an anthropologist at Harvard, stated that when it comes to subjects like race and skin color, kids are aware of the sensitive nature and “they know they are not supposed to talk about them.” So the best way is for you to be proactive mainly through conversation.

Books and stories are still powerful tools

You can also use visual materials like books to further pique your child’s curiosity. Kiddie Matters listed some good titles which are filled with lessons such as accepting people for who they are.In addition, the illustrations in children’s books are also powerful mediums for conveying messages about tolerance. The acclaimed author-illustrator Nadia Shireen explained in her interview with children’s wear label Tootsa that kids are naturally oversensitive and curious. These traits are further stimulated by striking visual cues such as colorful drawings.

Encourage non-selective friendships

Psychology Today relayed the significance of encouraging your children to foster friendships with kids of other races and cultures. It’ll be easier for them to understand the things you are explaining about tolerance if they have someone whom they can relate to. And when your child is already at the age for school, consider choosing an educational institution with programs for kids from different cultures.

Don’t hesitate to call your kids out on their mistakes

Of course, it’s still possible for children to make rude or insensitive comments even if you’re trying your best for them not to. Sometimes, it’s not clear to them that what they heard and/or said is wrong.

In case that happens, call them out immediately and explain why it’s bad. If you leave it alone or address it late, your child may get the wrong impression that what he/she did was okay.

All in all, parents are still the best teachers for their children. Hence, it’s crucial for them to be the one to tackle issues about tolerance and diversity with their little ones.


For more parenting tips and guides, don’t forget to read other posts in our Modern Parenting section.

MomsieTipz_RJ, is a mother of two who works as a corporate trainer which specializes in personality development. When not occupied with her family or job, she volunteers at a local orphanage.

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