We have no way of knowing what the world will look like when our children are adults, but we do know that they’ll need to be collaborative and respectful if they want to get ahead. And for that, tolerance is key.
Here’s how to help your children develop patience and compassion.
Be an example
One of the most exhausting things about parenthood is that you have to be a paragon at all times. Sure, you want them to learn that it’s normal to experience a spectrum of emotions, from joy to rage, but as their role model, you also want to give them an example of how to treat people with respect – so no snapping at the IT guy.
Take a hard look at your own beliefs
Do you hold any prejudices – even unconscious ones? Chances are the answer is yes, but once you become aware of these, you can take steps to eradicating them. That’s important, because it’s not helpful to pass on your inherent biases.
Build your child’s self-esteem
Often, when people behave negatively towards others, it’s because they feel negative about themselves. Help your child develop self-esteem by giving him age-appropriate chores (this shows them that they are capable and competent); putting the brakes on insincere praise; and offering him choices.
Expose him to as much of the world as possible
We tend to become judgmental when we’re crammed into our own little corners and are not exposed to how other people do things, because their way may be an improvement on our own? As a South African, your child is fortunate to encounter someone from a different culture every time he leaves the house, but don’t stop there. Help him to choose different types of books and movies so he sees the world from a variety of viewpoints.
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.