No two people are the same.
backgrounds, beliefs or religious practices. They may have different abilities. They may live in different houses or in different families.
Children need to learn that being different is OK.
Children will often ask about differences they observe between themselves and others.
- "Why is that person in a wheelchair?"
- "Why does that person have different skin to me?"
- "Why does that person wear those funny clothes?"
Young children tend to accept difference in others without question. They make friends with children from a range of different backgrounds or abilities or from a range of different types of families.
As children get older they learn to value difference from their parents. Your attitudes towards cultural and other differences will have a big impact on the way your growing children treat others who are different to them.
Reflect on your own acceptance of difference. How tolerant are you of the points of view of other people? How patient and flexible are you in accommodating different customs, beliefs and cultural traditions? How much do you respect and value individuality? How do you talk about and describe others who are different from you?
Accepting difference means understanding how we are alike, how we are different and treating everyone with respect and understanding regardless of the differences.
Help your child understand your own family history and background.
Talk with your child about the ways in which people within your own family are different from each other - they each have their own likes and dislikes, interests, and things that they are good at.
Encourage your child to talk to you about their observations, questions or concerns.
Help your child to consider the feelings and opinions of others - to put him or herself in the other person's shoes. Help your children to see that differences are to be appreciated and celebrated. You can do this by exposing them to other cultures and people through watching television programs or reading books about other people and places and participating in local community cultural events and festivals.