Encouraging our daughters from a young age to respect and embrace diversity will not only help them be confident and accepting of their own differences…it could have a huge impact on bullying and systematic racism in the world.
No one is born a bully, or intolerant, or racist.
But, studies have shown that they’re adopted early in life. In an article by psychotherapist, Dr. Katie Hurley, she explains that “Bullies are not born into this world. Bullies are raised.”
As parents, right now we have the opportunity to raise the next generation of young girls to see differences in others as what makes the world such an exciting and vibrant place… our daughters could grow to be world changers.
Here are 3 tips for helping your daughter embrace diversity:
- Start Young
If you’re worried that your daughter is too young to talk about race and differences….
The truth is, kids are never too young to embrace diversity.
Children are born into the world with an open mind, so it’s much easier to teach them how to be accepting, empathetic, and kind at a young age.
Your daughter will start noticing the differences between herself and the rest of the world before she turns one… and it’s not long after that before she’ll start having questions about people and things that are different or unfamiliar to her.
You probably already know this, but you’re one of the most important influences in your daughter's life… so those first answers to her questions will set the tone for how your daughter views people who look different from her.
Katie Lear, a licensed clinical mental health counselor for children explains how to have age-appropriate discussions with your child “by first normalizing that race is really something that’s okay to talk about: It’s not a taboo, even though it may feel uncomfortable.”
Having open, positive conversations about the differences she sees in others will model how your daughter responds to the world around her.
- Celebrate Other Cultures
Learning about other cultures and celebrating them can be a great way of developing an understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity.
Here are a few ways to celebrate other cultures and embrace diversity with your daughter:
- Pick a different culture to study and learn about together every month.
- Buy dolls and other toys that look different from your child.
- Read stories and books from other cultures, races, and countries.
- Travel together… and if that’s not possible, then go out to eat at ethnic restaurants and go to festivals that are celebrating other cultures.
- Talk about the values of other cultures, explore the difference and similarities to your own culture.
Become familiar with other people’s history and their way of life. Experience their dancing, their food, listen to their music, and hear their stories… This will help your daughter experience all the beauty this world, and it’s diverse people, have to offer.
- Acknowledge differences in opportunities and power.
As your daughter grows up experiencing how diverse and beautiful the world is, help her understand that no matter how different we may look, we all have the same rights and needs.
It’s important for children to understand that some people judge others, and treat them unfairly, based on their appearance or skin color.
Have conversations with your daughter about the hardships and struggles and even talking to her about why some people are mad right now by having discussions and learning about:
- Systematic racism
- White privilege
Understanding and listening to the way that others are experiencing the world is a crucial part of developing empathy and embracing diversity.
It’s about listening and learning!
There’s no perfect conversation to have with your daughter about race, culture, and differences. But, we hope these tips give you a good starting point!
Like a lot of other important aspects of her life, it’s about creating an environment of listening and learning together.
It's about starting the conversation and continuing it.
We are ALL still learning, and most of us want the same thing for our children: A more peaceful world filled with opportunities.
The impact of helping our children embrace diversity and raising our daughters to be kind, empathetic, and courageous women… could truly change the future.