Raising Kids Who Let Everyone Sit at Their Table

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Raising includers is not as easy as you would think. When my kids start school, I hope they make friends and are kind to everyone. But is that possible?

Humans are quick to build judgement as a species and get set in their own ways, to the point of excluding without conscious thought. We see it all the time. People tend to prefer to be with people who speak their language, have lived in the same city and/or follow their own customs. In most communities, you will see families subdivided into sub groups. The children in turn prefer playing with kids they feel are their own. Consequently, you will see children excluding someone who doesn’t look or sound like them.

No child does it on purpose. They just subconsciously mimic their parents’ behaviour. Parents too, do not do the same on purpose but the sad truth is that it takes a lot of conscious and mindful effort on our part to make sure our children understand our acceptance of different ways of life.

Oh yes! We all say, we want our children to have a global mindset. How many of us however make the effort to ensure our children are exposed to a diverse environment.

If you are a parent who wants to make sure their child does not fall into the groupism trap, here are ways you can ensure to do that.

Raising Includers with These Steps

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

It is not easy for us to explore the world. It takes a lot of self awareness and desire to step out of our comfort zone to do so. We have our friends. We hold our ways close. It is so easy for us to keep going on our way. The way we have been brought up is comfortable. Besides that, inviting unknowns into our homes can lead to subconscious fears of being judged. We need to be above that. We are all just people, living our lives in our ways. Doing our best to raise our families, the way we know best. The judgement on both sides is unnecessary and non existent.

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Play Dates

Invite your child’s friends over to your home. Gone are the days when mothers used to be home and neighbors could just play at each others’ houses. Working parents means we have to make the extra bit of effort for our children. Yes, our homes are messy at times. Yes, it could also be inconvenient. But children bloom knowing their friends are welcome in their home.

My house is a hub for both my kids’ friends. It is always wonderful seeing the children interact and learn about each other’s cultures. I too, find it fascinating how differently a child sees our home when compared to their own. But it is all going towards their growth.

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I notice often it is hard for most parents to reciprocate and invite my child over. I show them the grace of accepting they have their reasons for my child enjoying with their friends is more important than waiting for reciprocation. The point at the end is for the children to grow together.

Conversations

Talk to your child about being kind and generous and loving to their friends. Talk to them about how important it is to be accepting of the different experiences and ways they witness. My son recently had friends judge him on what he likes and being a non vegetarian. These opportunities make your child stronger in their beliefs, yes. It is also a learning moment for them to be tolerant of others views and to never judge and they are being judged.

Celebrations

It is important enough to make the most of every moment in life. For every single year is nothing but a culmination of all the moments you make special. What is more essential is that we share those moments with people who may not know what the significance of our celebration is. I have had the privilege to often being included in many a Christmases, Onams and Eid celebrations and that is why I have a wonderful sense and desire to include any and all in my life’s special days!

No Generalization

We all tend to do it. We label a whole group of people based on our personal experience or the stories of our parents. You may deny it to yourself, but your child sees the world through your eyes. And if your comments, stories are off handed and biased, that’s how they will see the world. Make sure you are aware of what you say when you meet someone new, or come across someone in an instance. Smiling and just having an open conversation goes a LONG way in teaching your child to be open to including all others in their day and lives.

Yes, talk to them to be aware of predators, BUT make sure your child is kind NOT wary. Be open to having agreeable dialogue with strangers and old friends.

Encourage Kindness

Be kind to those around you, help out with your child when you can. Help a friend move. Be nice to someone in front of them. Go out of your way to be an includer yourself in order for your child to learn from you.

If your find someone being ignorant about your own culture or group, educate them. Do not talk badly behind them for their response which was clearly from being ignorant.

Read, Read, Read

Reading about the world, societies, sub cultures, etc is the biggest way to show your child the world is their oyster.

Make sure you make the effort to read this easy to read book to being mindful of raising a global citizen.

Follow my profile on Instagram for frequent updates on books that we come across and the world of books we open up to you.

What are ways YOU would suggest to do the same?

Raising Includers - remove groupism mentality in kids early

 

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Author: Aditi Wardhan Singh

Featured on CBS and NBC, Aditi is an authoritative voice on cultural sensitivity and empowerment. Published on various publications like Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Richmond Family Magazine, RichmondMomsBlog, WriterMom, Desh Videsh Magazine etc., this mother of two has also coauthored the best selling book "When You're DONE Expecting". She is the founder of the RWC magazine encouraging other voices like hers to come forth to create unique resources for parents everywhere so children can be global thought leaders. In her spare time, she enjoys choreographing recitals, volunteering and having dance parties with her two charming kids.

12 Replies to “Raising Kids Who Let Everyone Sit at Their Table

  1. This is so important! I think it’s also helpful for kids to actually get to SPEND TIME with people of different backgrounds/places/etc, which assumes that their parents do the same. Our budget is pretty tight, but we put every extra bit of money we can toward travel, so our kids can see different parts of the country/world and meet people who didn’t just grow up in our suburb. Just this summer, on two cross-country trips, they each made a new friend who is now a pen-pal. Just as we keep them up to date on the news from other countries, from the friends we have made there on previous visits – and with whom we visit, whenever we can…

  2. This is such an important topic. I love the way that you broke it down as to why and how this has just happened. The suggestions for how to raise our children to be inclusive of all of humanity are wonderful. I do feel that even at the young ages of 1 and 2 my girls closely mimic my own habits. This read will definitely make me think twice about my choices going forward, I really gotta get out of my comfort zone! Thank you for this great read!

  3. All of these tips are such “common sense” interventions, but it’s amazing how many we all miss without a little mindfulness in how and what we model for our children. Their formative years fly by so fast! Start these today, don’t always put it off until tomorrow.

  4. Oh my goodness, I love this!!! It’s so tough to get out of our comfort zones with other people, cultures and places,but it’s such an important thing to do!

  5. Such great tips! I always worry about my kids getting involved in cliques and excluding other kids. So far they have been good about being inclusive and making friends no matter where we go or who we are with.

  6. This is so true. Excluding other kids is a big thing. My daughter has had a lot of issues with kids leaving her out, and it is devastating. Plus, it often goes unnoticed by teachers and adults and it isn’t like active bullying, so it is less obvious.

  7. Playdates and really good for kids for sure! I’m glad you mentioned conversations too because it’s important to make the time for those thoughtful, intentional talks!

  8. I think the most important lesson you touched on here is leading by example. If we are friendly to all, so will our kids. My parents always taught be that if someone looked a little different, never point that out and have that as a spark to be their friend. I’m trying to instill similar values in my kids, also.

  9. love how you structured this post; and i am glad both my teens spend time with and more importantly have friends from all cultures. I know where we live provides them that opportunity and I am glad for that as well.

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