Teach Children to be Includers

By Kim Roberts

Parenting goals: raise children that adhere to the “golden rule” and do unto others and raise children who are kind

 and considerate and do not exclude others.

But, how do we as parents reach this goal and teach our children to be compassionate, tolerant and inclusive?

Lead by example, we as parents need to show, not tell, our kids how to be inclusive.

I have two daughters and have seen, first hand, the effects of not being included. I have seen the hurt and tears and anguish as they felt excluded and were left out of outings, events, even conversations by their “friends.”

Quite frankly I am tired of the excuses that society makes for this kind of behavior – girls will be girls and cliques are a right of passage. What? I guess that works if your child is not the one being left out and hurt.

But, this can happen to anyone’s child, at any time.

My first instinct has always been to go all mamma bear and confront the parents or the children, but that never works out well. Typically, both the parents and children do not think they are doing anything wrong, and I end up embarrassing my child.

I have come to the conclusion that we need to teach our children that they have to be aware of others and should be held accountable for their actions.

We should be proactive and model behavior for our children to follow. As adults, we can refrain from talking about other parents negatively, make an effort to greet new people at school or church, smile at strangers and encourage our children to do the same and make an effort to ask the new kid to join in.

Really, a child’s greatest fear, as well as a parent’s, is being ignored in public and feeling like they don’t belong.

If we encourage our children to be aware of others, they will learn to be compassionate and incorporate the golden rule into their lives. They can break the cycle of exclusion.

2 Comments on “Teach Children to be Includers

  1. Please tell me why this is Mrs. Roberts last column. We love her reflections on family life. Frankly, it’s one of the best and most relatable columns in the Clairon.

    • It is not her last column in The Clarion Herald. She was reflecting on a column she wrote in The Times-Picayune before its recent purchase by The Advocate. Her column there was not renewed.

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