Developing Respect for People Who are Different

At about the age of three, a child starts to discern that the world is made up of many people and that some of them are unlike him. Looking at them they express curiosity or concern.

Negative attitudes towards difference are picked up by impressionable young children from adults, other children and media stereotypes. Since a child’s attitudes are shaped at an early age, you should try and teach him from the beginning to respect and accept others regardless of differences.

In addition it is wise to expose your child to many different kinds of people, including those of contrasting cultures, various ages and a range of abilities. The best way to handle the situation is to expose your child in active teamwork. Working towards a common goal will help in breaking the barrier imposed by difference and he will soon realize that the all the people are alike.

A nursery school or a playgroup school is the best place for your child to experience a richer blend of ethnic groups. You can even develop a good attitude by reading books. But no matter whatever you teach him at home, he might announce his dislike for a playmate based on some differences.

You should redirect his attention towards the similarities and explain him that difference makes other people interesting to know. Some children even find difficulty in facing with the generation beyond their own especially because they have a little contact with older people other than their grandparents.

You can look for a way to give your child positive experiences with older relatives and neighbors. One way to do this is to invite an older person on a family outing or include a senior citizen among the babysitter. This will help your youngster to have an opportunity to accept older people.

Play between a handicapped and a non handicapped child benefits both youngsters.
Sharing experiences with a non handicapped child also diminishes the isolation a handicapped child have.

The youngster who does not have a disability learns to be comfortable with someone who does, looking beyond a physical or mental limitation to deeper human qualities and mutual interests.

geeta krishnan