Our socio-political environment has never been this polarizing. In a world constantly engaged in debates of what is morally right and wrong, it is easy to forget the pressures this atmosphere can have on a child. The children represent our future and it is through them that we can nurture it.
One of the ways to do so is by cultivating empathy in them towards members of different sexual orientations and gender. Here are 5 best ways to teach your kid to be gender sensitive.
- Squashing Stereotypes – Most of the information that children receive nowadays is not from books and classrooms but from movies and the internet. Almost every child nowadays is equipped with a gadget that transmits tons of data to him/her every single day. Our films and TV shows have been mother lodes to bad stereotypes when it comes to how they portray transgenderism and homosexuals on screen. It’s only now that our film industry has become sensitive to such topics. As parents, you have to shield your child from such stereotypes, manage their expectations and tutor them in understanding the real nature of the members of the LGBTQ community.
- Exposing them to real stories – One way to make a child empathize with members of the opposite gender is to make them listen to their stories. Many homosexuals and trans-genders have personal stories to share about their plight and the challenges they had to go through to ultimately succeed in life. Listening to these stories can make a child emotionally open up and feel for them. Many famous queer celebrities and famous personalities have openly talked about their stories, listening to these stories will lead to our children’s salvation.
- Meeting Role Models – By role models, we are not talking about famous celebrities or superstars but common folks who we encounter in our daily lives. They can be teachers, cops, shopkeepers or your neighbors. Socializing with them and making your child socialize with them can help the child relate to these folks on a more personal level. Just imagine the impact a simple friendly conversation can have on the nature of our children. This level of socialization can not only lead to the cultivation of empathy but also a sense of being an ally for a cause, making your child feel empowered.
- Be Open To Questions – Children are curious and have an inquisitive mind. They might have questions about their bodies, their feelings or a particular scene they watched in a movie. Instead of ignoring these questions out of discomfort, give them straight answers. You are your children’s best guide. Ignoring them will only make them search for answers in places you don’t want them to go. Being open with your child will make him more open to asking you questions if he has more doubts on the topic in the future.
- Lead By Example – A kid’s future is a reflection of his parents present. They learn by noticing our every move and they understand by our every word. So make sure to show the values you want your child to inculcate. Participate in rallies, donate for the cause of gender equality, and make the child donate a penny too.
Teach your child to respect every human irrespective of gender and orientation so that he can become a responsible citizen of a progressive nation.
Annabelle is part of the Content and Community team at SmileTutor, sharing valuable content with their own community and beyond