Dear Dr. Robyn,

My children are now at an age when they say that they don’t like things about themselves or pick on things about others they know. Our area is eclectic—so everyone is a little different and I like it that way! How can I help them to see that being different is a good thing?

— Kara & Chris N, Boulder, CO

image Dear Kara & Chris,

What a treat to live in an area defined as “eclectic!” There are so many things to learn from one another.

To help your children embrace differences among themselves as well as in others, you can:

Celebrate differences with friends:

If there are holidays or special ways you celebrate within your family…share! Including friends and allowing them to take part in a special meal or celebration can be a way of understanding one another. And of course, spending time with friends when they are celebrating in their own special way, would
also be a wonderful way of showing that differences can be interesting and amazing.

Learn about different cultures:

Take time to respectfully ask questions of your friends and neighbors about their different cultures– and encourage your children to do the same. Investigate different cultures on the internet or in books. You can even make a special night each week devoted to trying a new food from a different culture. Make it fun!

Write down and record your stories:

What’s special about the cultures represented in your family? What stories do you remember your parents, grandparents, or other family members telling you about their past? Document those stories
as they are treasures and they highlight the amazing parts of the family history!

Connect with and compliment character:

When we recognize others for their character, we realize that people are really not that different after all. What makes friends special, interesting, amazing, and appreciated? How do you feel when you are around them? How might they inspire you? Tell them…and encourage your children to do the same!

Embrace the community:

If your community is diverse, make sure you help your children appreciate it and embrace it. How does the community support diversity? What kinds of art or theatrical performances does it provide? What kinds of interesting foods can you try? Use your amazing community to help your children embrace diversity, and the interesting people around you.

Here’s to your success!

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